While wandering around on the kboards, I came across a post by Marti Talbott, about writing good blurbs. Here’s the one she wrote for the first book in her 14-book Highlander series, Anna:
“ANNA — In love with a woman he had only seen once and could not find, the Highlander, Kevin MacGreagor was growing older and needed a wife to give him sons. No other woman pleased him, not even the daughters of other lairds, so he finally settled for Anna sight unseen. But when his men went to meet her guard, she was all alone and badly beaten. Who could have done such a thing and why?”
That looks like it’s made out of hooks. Three of them. No, four. I mean – if the hero’s in love with a stranger he can’t find, that’s a smoking gun, I want to read about how he finds her (and she’s Anna). Aaaaand I wanna know who Anna is, that he’d settle for her sight unseen. And I wanna read about two strangers pitchforked into marriage together sight unseen. And! I want to know why she’s alone and badly beaten, and what the guy’s going to do to save her. Excellent.
That sounds like all the hooks in her book’s opening chapters. None of the usual details, either, except as they’re implicit: two names, the setting, and a stab at the genre.
If I lay out all my hooks, what do I get?
Christopher’s been raised in secret by magicians, who try to keep him locked away, never letting strangers near him, never letting him be seen. One day he runs away – only to be captured by the king’s soldiers and taken to the palace. There he’s given eleven shocked, protesting girls for his companions, and told they will grow up to be knights, wielding terrifying battle-magic, the guardians of the land. With him as their Key. Because he is something called a Key, and that makes him the most important person in the entire kingdom …
All but one of the girls are as horrified as he is.