fff_contest (fff_contest) wrote in fangs_fur_fey,
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Hooks 92, 94, 102, 103, 106, 107, 108, 112, 119, 126

Hook 92
Genre: YA paranormal

Sentenced to an asylum after confessing to her schoolmate's bizarre
murder, Alison Jeffries fights to prove her sanity, even if she
cannot prove her innocence. But when her acute sensitivity to colors
and sounds causes her to lash out at a nurse, her reputation as a
model patient is destroyed. Then Dr. Faraday, the neurologist who
has taken a special interest in her case, is exposed as an impostor
and barred from the hospital. Unable to accept his seeming betrayal,
Alison escapes the asylum and follows Faraday to the scene of her
supposed crime, only to trigger a device that transports them both
to his home a thousand light-years away. There Alison finds the
truth about what happened to her schoolmate and a chance to clear
her name -- but first she must elude a team of alien scientists,
confront her greatest fear, and learn to embrace her unusual sensory
gifts before she can return to Earth and reclaim her future.

Comments:

This book does sound interesting, but I think I'm wanting a few more
concrete details here before I'd read pages--not a complete plot
summary, of course, but enough to give a feel for the larger story.
What sort of bizarre murder? Is Alison actually guilty of that
murder, and if so, why does she confess? What is the truth of what
happened to her schoolmate; what is her greatest fear; what is the
nature of her sensory gifts? You don't necessarily need to give all
these details here, but you do, I think, need to give enough of them
that an agent or editor has more sense of what this book is really
about.

Hook 94
YA Science Fantasy

For twelve years Madeline Alleyn has been unwilling to discuss their
family's past with her daughters fearing to reveal her frightening
secrets. She has settled for a life apart, a choice she made to ensure their survival...and hers. But the choices she made long ago begin to
unravel when, unknown to her, her triplet daughters begin to develop strange psychokinetic powers indicative of the people Madeline sought to escape.

Empowered by their new abilities and seeking answers to their many
unanswered questions, Phoebe, Rhea and Dione Alleyn decide its time to
find out who and what they are. Concocting a covert plan, they decide to look directly into their mother's mind. Cool, maybe it'll even work, but once in Phoebe finds dark and startling mysteries, things she couldn't possibly have dreamed of only days previously, tales of lost archeological artifacts and weird sorcerers and ancient ruins and murdered grandmothers and missing fathers all locked tightly in Madeline's mind. But before they can sort any of it out, a stranger enters their life, a man full of magic and satisfying answers. For a long time now Wulfred Lang has been seeking some answers of his own, and now he thinks he's found them. Before they suspect his true
intentions he betrays the triplets by kidnaping Dione and two of their
friends. Desperate to save them, Phoebe and Rhea must put aside their
fear before Dione is destroyed as Lang uses her terrible, but
uncontrollable, power to unlock the answers to two, five thousand year old puzzles – the origin of the society of sorcerers and the purpose for the building of Stonehenge.

Comments:

This doesn't quite pull me in, and I think the reason may be that it
begins from the mother's point of view, when as a YA, ultimately this
will be (I'm assuming) Phoebe, Rhea, and Dione's story. Maybe if we
saw the world through their eyes from the start--three girls, who've
always had unanswered questions about their mother and their
lives--this would catch my interest sooner.

The other thing I wanted here was a bit more information. What
questions do the girls have about their lives? What sorts of powers
do they begin to develop? (And do they develop identical powers, or
is each girl different?) What sorts of answers does Wulfred offer?
How does Wulfred plan to attempt to use Dione's powers, and what will
be the consequences if he does? I don't need answers to all these
questions (except the last one, which I need for sure); but I do need
answers to at least some of them.

And what do Phoebe and Rhea need to _do_ to rescue Dione and set
things right again? What might stop them from doing it? (Is time
running out? Does their fear threaten to keep them from being able to
pull the rescue off? Why are we worried for them?)

This does sound like an interesting world--we just need to know more
about it.


Hook 102, NEXT ROUNDER. Send in your pages!

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Being the youngest daughter of the Devil has never been easy.
Daphne's father has little time for her, her mother, little interest,
and her status in the upper echelon separates her from the working-class demons that populate Lucifer's metropolis. Confined to
the family high-rise, she amuses herself by collecting costume
jewelery and plastic memorabilia, but when her brother and only
confidante goes missing, life in the restrictive city of Pandemonium
becomes intolerable. With plans to locate her brother and thus win
their mother's elusive affection, Daphne sets out for Earth—and
finds it larger and more chaotic than she imagined, a dazzling expanse of noise, dirt, and random violence.

Despite her initial bewilderment, she navigates the mortal world with
growing fascination, gaining a grudging ally when she purchases a
dying boy from her father's minions. Unfortunately, Lucifer's agents
are not the only creatures on the prowl, and Daphne soon finds herself
in a reluctant standoff with a few of Heaven's more dogmatic officials. Now, equipped with a straight razor and unshakable
optimism in the world's virtue, she must evade a demon-eating
monster, save her brother from an angelic zealot, and rally the goodness in people who have been told all their lives that they are irredeemable.


Comments

I can't find a whole lot to pick at in this hook. It seems fun all the
way around. It's got the devil's daughter, a ho-hum take on Hell, a
missing person mystery, demon-eating monsters, angelic zealots, and
costume jewelry hoarding. Come on…

Sold.

The author presents a unique protagonist and an intriguing premise,
more importantly, I would buy this novel off the shelf based on the
hook alone (and a snazzy cover, of course). Congratulations writer
you're definitely moving forward.


Hook 103, NEXT ROUNDER. Send in your pages!

Genre: Urban Fantasy (adult)/Mystery

Six years ago, suffering from the granddaddy of all midlife crises,
Nick St. Claus walked away from the role he'd performed for
centuries, leaving the North Pole behind for good. After some soul-searching, he stumbled into his new job, that as a private investigator operating in Holiday, a small Alaskan town sitting right on the border between the worlds of the mundane and the magical. Specializing in cases involving the Mysteries - creatures and beings of myth and legend who still walk among us-, he's dealt with everything from stolen pots of gold to renegade demigods to murderous ex-partners. This next case, however, will really test his ability to tell who's been naughty and nice.

When the teenage daughter of Thomas "Tam Lin" and Janet Lane goes
missing, the distraught couple is convinced that the Faerie Queen who
once terrorized them has come back for a long-promised revenge. Now
they want Nick to track down the missing Rose. The catch? There's
more than one Queen of Faerie, and the Lanes have no idea which one is
their enemy. Now it's up to Nick, along with a Fae shapeshifter
acting as his "native guide" to navigate the unpredictable, treacherous
realms of Faerie in a danger-filled search for the right Queen.

Things turn even uglier once he tracks down his target, only to learn that not only does she -not- have the daughter in question, she'd
forgotten all about that sworn revenge … until reminded just now. Now, on top of locating a missing teenager, Nick has to find a way to win the Lanes' safety, once and for all. Maybe he should have asked for more payment up front. It's days like this that make Nick miss the toy business after all.


Comments

I really like the premise of Santa as a private detective, it's
undeniably fun. That he quit delivering toys to the good boys and
girls to work out his own issues is hilarious. I like the set-up of
the first part, some of the details in the mystery could be trimmed,
but overall this is a good hook.

The writing flows and the plot seems to tick along with these spots of
endearing humor.

Congratulations, you're moving on.


Hook 106

Genre: young adult fiction
Title: The Empty Chair

Thirteen-year-old Rachel Fenner desperately wants to have a
closer relationship with the person she idolizes – thirty-year-old Kurt, the oldest of her seven siblings. Kurt is everything that Rachel isn’t – he’s strong, cool, and confident, and he is not intimidated by Pop. When their parents move away for a year and Kurt comes back East to be Rachel’s temporary guardian, she finally has the chance to really get to know the brother who invariably works his way into her daydreams to saveher from the bad guys (who says you need to be rescued by a love
interest?).

Throughout the year, as Rachel experiences her first crush, a
life-threatening illness, and a less than pleasant encounter
with alcohol, her previously shaky bond with Kurt evolves into a
strong friendship. In fact, the only thing about Kurt that
Rachel still has trouble coming to terms with is the aborted
baby that would have been his when he was seventeen – the family
member nobody ever talks about. But when an unfamiliar woman
shows up two months before their parents’ return and reveals the
secret that Rachel’s mom and aunt have kept from the family for
over fourteen years, Rachel’s faith in Kurt is painfully shaken.

Ultimately, Rachel must look to her experiences from the past
ten months to help her decide – is Kurt truly her hero, or did
he fail to save her when it counted the most?


Comments:

I like that this book is about a sibling
relationship rather than about a romantic one,
and I like that the sibling is so much older than
Rachel--not something one sees done all that often.

I do think I need to know in the hook what the
secret is, since that's going to affect the shape
of the story. If I were an editor or agent, I'd
still probably ask to see the book as it is, but
knowing more about that secret might strengthen
the hook and give a better feel for the larger story.

Good luck!


Hook 107

When 16-year-old Tabby meets attractive college freshman Carlos at the local malt shop, she doesn't expect to find herself armed with a
bowling ball and robbing his apartment 14 hours later. But Carlos confides to Tabby that he's just come across a magic elixir, a substance he claims will make him a millionaire. Tabby doesn't buy it for a second—but it's always best to have your bases covered, and your pockets full. Her first problem arises when Carlos wakes up during the robbery, and that bowling ball she's holding slips right out of her hands and right onto his head.

Once back home, Tabby discovers her second problem when she examines the 'magic elixir' and finds it's nothing more than a bottle of kids'
bubble solution. After blowing the bubbles all over her family and friends, however, it appears they do have a power—the power to give people instant midlife crises. Tabby wants to ask Carlos how to undo their effects, but she's wanted by the police for assaulting him—and,
even worse, she thinks she might be starting to want him. With the cops closing in, Tabby must figure out how to land a solution to her problems before landing five to ten in the clinker.


Comments:

This sounds fun. I like the idea of an elixir
that causes instant teen midlife crises!

I do wonder why Tabby--based on a (probably a
little crazy-sounding) mention of a magic
money-making elixir--would decide to go ahead and
rob Carlos' apartment. Most people would brush
the story off and go on with their lives; that
Tabby doesn't is one of the things that makes
Tabby interesting. But I think we need to know
more about her, to understand at least something
of why that potion is so important to her. (Or,
if she's more accustomed to breaking and entering
than most folks--also interesting--we need to know that.)

I'd also like some brief mention of what sorts of
midlife crises Tammy's friends and family are
actually thrust into (what does a teen midlife
crisis look like?), and of why these crises are a
problem. Why is Tammy desperate to undo the
potion's effects? What's going to happen if she doesn't?

Still, I'm intrigued. If I were an agent or
editor, I'd probably ask to see the book just to
find out just what that elixir's effects really were. :-)


Hook 108

Pod is four and a half years old and in two days she will be married.
She can handle that--she's an adult, after all--she can even cope
with the knowledge her father decides to pass on to her about the
origins of their people, but then the aliens arrive and play havoc with her wedding.

The aliens are not so different, although they come in a bewildering
variety of shapes and colors. Their leader, Lorienne Fairbanx, seems
almost like a person, in spite of her unusual appearance, and Pod is
intrigued. Pod's friend Derrin has even fallen in love. But is
Lorienne to be their friend, or their Nemesis?

Lori is facing a similar dilemma. When she wakes to take charge of
the colony ship she's expecting to find a settlement constructed by an
advance party of clones. However, the clones are not where they're
supposed to be. They're living in thriving, independent communities
on an ocean archipelago, with their own culture and no awareness of
their original purpose. What's worse, their built-in sterility has been
compromised and some of them have children. And they show no signs of
aging as they were supposed to.

As Lori gets to know them, she finds herself liking some of the
clones, Pod especially, more than the members of the official colony group.

She must choose between her duty and her personal inclinations,
Complicated by her growing attraction to Derrin. Distrustful of her own emotions, will she turn her back on her career, or will she make the hard decisions needed to put the colony back on track?

She must decide soon, because Gerrit Thalen, Lori's rival for
leadership of the colony, has an agenda of his own.


Comments:

This is intriguing--you've definitely succeeded in getting me
interested in the world you've created.

I think I do need more information, though. Most importantly, I need
to know what decisions Lori is supposed to make to put the colony
back on track, and how these decisions would hurt Pod and the others.
(Is Lori supposed to kill the clones so the aliens can take over? To
replace them with a new batch of clones whose sterility hasn't been
compromised?) I also need to know what Gerrit Thalen's agenda for the
colony is, and how that agenda threatens both Lori and Pod. (Or,
alternately, Gerrit could be removed from the hook--but if he's
there, I need to know what he's trying to do; and his presence does
give a sense of conflict, so on second thought, I might leave him in
the hook after all.)

Other things I'd like to know, if you can work them in: What does Dad
tells Pod about the origins of her people? How the locals and aliens
are actually different--what makes the aliens alien? But both those
things are less important than knowing the decisions Lori faces,
because it's those decisions that are going to affect the shape of
the story, and that are going to tell me where its tensions lie.


Hook 112, NEXT ROUNDER. Send in your pages!
Genre: YA Fantasy

Apprentice seamstress Gabby Redcap is out of her element. Her teacher, Tiane, has taken a commission from Lady Feniatrasiel of the Great House of Oak, one of the most powerful elven noble houses, and fulfilling it requires they travel to Greensward, the elven capitol. The Lady is returning to society after mourning her fiancée’s death and wants a special dress for the occasion. If making the dress were all, it
wouldn’t be a problem. But Tiane and her apprentice are expected to attend the ball as well – which means a crash course in ballroom politics for Gabby.

Along the way, she will find new friends, learn dance from the greatest elven dance master of the age, and uncover a dark conspiracy behind the fair façade of the elven Houses. For their new patron has more on her
mind than her return to the social scene: she seeks revenge for her fiancée’s death and she blames Tiane’s mentor, Ki’halasthia. And the Lady has no qualms about sacrificing a young human girl to fulfill her vengeful quest.

From the rain soaked cobbles of Greensward’s streets to the glittering ballrooms of the elven nobility, Oak, Ash, and Lilac is the story of one young woman’s discovery of her strength and beauty set against the
backdrop of a society slowly rotting at its core – where everyone serves something . . . even if they don’t know what . . .

Comments:

I like the title Oak, Ash, and Lilac. :-) More,
I like that the writing is strong throughout this hook.

Mostly, I wanted to know more about Gabby's role
in the story. She's potentially the Lady's
victim, but what does Gabby need to _do_ over the
course of the story? (Does she somehow stop the
dark conspiracy? Alert others so they can stop
it? Decide to help the conspirators out, because
she agrees with them that elven society is rotting from the core?)

I also wanted to know more about that dark
conspiracy. A dark conspiracy to do _what_?

Still, the world is intriguing. And more
importantly, this is one of those hooks where the
prose itself is strong enough that, were I an
editor or agent, I'd ask to see more simply
because I'm interested in your writing.

It all comes down to the writing in the end, after all.

So I'm asking. Send those pages on. :-)

Hook 119, NEXT ROUNDER. Send in your pages!
Genre: YA Fiction

Flying an ancient Bristol F.2B Fighter plane wasn't exactly covered in
Meri's high school education. Of course, her teachers didn't expect
her to end up in an alternate version of 2007 the weekend before her
senior year finals. But when she heads out on a beach trip with three
of her friends, that's just what happens - while driving her old minivan towards the Oregon coast, Meri takes the wrong exit and suddenly they're headed for the gates of a refugee camp in Nevada, in a world where the Nazis didn't lose.

This alternate United States has no use for undocumented refugees.
They quickly send Meri and her friends to the British Independents,
The only group still fighting the Third Reich. After working on her
Piloting skills, Meri joins the British Independent air force. Life there is too intense to waste time worrying about her distant foster family.

Soon she's deep in the world of the British Independents - sleeping in the pilots' barracks, addicted to flying, and seeing an awful lot of a
certain lieutenant. It's a place where Meri feels completely right
for the first time, a place where she has a purpose.

Then disaster strikes and Meri is left with a choice: stay and risk
Her life with the British Independents, or run back to the quasi-safety of the alternate United States and abandon the cause she's chosen and the people she loves.


Comments:

This hook _definitely_ has me intrigued. The setting is compelling
(as much for the survival aspects as for the alternate history), and
I'm curious what you've done with it.

I do want to know what the disaster is that strikes toward the end
(and how Meri thus gets pushed to the point of needing to decide
whether to stay or go). But even as I think knowing this might
strengthen this hook a little, I find myself wanting to see the world
you've created, and to see what you've done with that world and with
Meri.

Which is why I'm asking for pages. :-)


Hook 126

Dear _______,

New classmates, new school year, and a different planet. One
invading army. A pinch of magic, telepathy, and secrets. From two
viewpoints, THE NATURE ROOM is a 66,000 word YA novel.

Derora Reed was shocked speechless when she got into The School, the
pinnacle of achievement for a few hundred years. She gets a dozen
outfits in prison orange for her new uniform, and she's put in a
group to be her family away from home- a collection of fellow
oddballs, with the senior in a clown suit.

Enter John King, her fellow viewpoint character and new groupmate.
He's been here since age five- plenty long enough to know how to
induct a "winker" into the school. And DEFINITELY long enough to
test that she's trustworthy. For The School isn't just where
colleges fight over grade-schoolers, it's the connection between
Earth and a planet humans were kicked off long ago. Unfortunately
that upset the balance of nature- and since Nature argues, a deal
was made for visitors. Those are the students- they learn the
language, get to wear the headbands that allow telepathy, make
friends.

For the students, time at the school is spent in class, or choking
down meals of liver hamburgers and mud. Spare time is spent on
required community service, resulting in John getting mauled
someplace sensitive while tutoring. Dating is as rampant as other
species.

Unfortunately, an invading army has decided to use children as
captives. And they don't stand for ones like John, who spits on
their flag, or Derora, who crashes a vanload of medicine into the
school water supply.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,


Comments:

The first paragraph of this hook -- "New classmates, new school year,
and a different planet. One invading army. A pinch of magic,
telepathy, and secrets" -- really caught my attention and made me
want to read more.

Unfortunately, after that I got a bit confused. I couldn't really
follow where or what the School was, or what it meant for it to be
the "pinnacle of achievement" (what sort of achievement?), or what
the School's students actually do there. Who runs the school? Why was
earth kicked off of the School's planet long ago? Why does kicking
earthlings off a planet upset the balance of nature, and what do you
mean when you say "Nature argues"?

I also wanted to know more about Derora and John's roles in the
larger story. Right now you mention a few scattered incidents (the
flag, the van), and I know the invaders don't Derora and John them
because of these incidents--but what do Derora and John ultimately
have to _do_? Do they need to help repel the invaders? To broker a
peace agreement? To simply escape from their captors with their lives
intact and get back to earth? Right now, I know only that
they're attending the School together, and while the School sounds
interesting, I need to know more about the story that takes place
there, and about how Derora and John influence its outcome.

The world sounds pretty interesting to me. Now the trick is to
convey a better sense of that world--and the story that takes place
there--in the hook.
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