Ask Daphne! Is an unknown hook still a hook?

September 10th, 2008 • Kate

Camouflage shoes (by Manolo Blahnik!) for Mitzi, who writes:

My novel deals in a fairly unknown phenomenon. I know the correct form of a query letter, but due to the subject matter I worry that the agent won’t understand my hook line. Should I describe the phenomenon first?

I’m going to say yes, if you can do it creatively. For example, “There’s a school of thought that thinks those individuals who believe they’ve been abducted by aliens are actually genetically engineered clones grown in Iowa nuclear silos by the government for sinister purposes. In my novel, one of these clones…” etc. Does that makes sense? Find a way to describe the phenomenon and how your MC or antagonist fits in/bucks against/disbelieves/proves that phenomenon. In this case, I think a creative description of the phenomenon is PART of your hook.

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