Oh, and one other thing: this new hook doesn't even touch on the Big Spoiler, and there's nothing else here that I wouldn't be comfortable putting on the back of the book. So, read on without fear.
At age twenty-four, with a college degree under his belt and a good job as a guardian magi for a small company, Sean Sunderland feels like he has a pretty good handle on his life. What he never suspected was how much of his life was based on lies. The Otherworld in which he works is actually just one small part of an ancient world that few suspect exists, and a race of demons wants Sean for its own because of magical powers he doesn't even know he has. Even Sean's parents seem to be hiding something--his connection to the Otherworld may be stronger than he knows.
It isn't until the demons try to capture Sean that he becomes aware that his world isn't what he thought. Though he hides his abilities from his family and most of his coworkers, those who are aware of his true nature are unwilling to let him return to the life he loved. The free peoples of the Otherworld want Sean to unseat the lord of the demons, the demons demand that Sean join their ranks or die, and a ten thousand year old vampire needs Sean's help to save his descendants from a malevolent phantasm. Somehow, Sean will have to master his powers well enough to protect himself and those he cares about not only from the demons, but also from the darkness within himself.
Much better! I know more about the story without knowing the story. It reads well and leaves me wanting to read more.
Excellent! That's just what I was hoping for, thanks!
Well done Chris, seriously this is bloody excellent! :) So much better now (imho). And I agree with Rachel and would absolutely want to read more. If this was the cover blurb of a book I saw in a shop I would consider buying it. And, more importantly, if the opening 4 or 5 pages are as strong as you can make them, I think a query incorporating this hook, along with those pages, would be enough for an agent to request a partial plus synopsis.
Btw, I am *so* glad you dropped the part from hook #2 that said: "As Sean is pulled ever more into *a struggle as old as humanity itself*"... hehe ;) Sorry, I wasn't loving that phrase to begin with but thought I'd wait to see your new hook before commenting. And it's not there anymore! Brilliant. :)
OK, now just 2 small points (if you don't mind me being picky? I think I'm a bit of a frustrated editor, at heart...)
1) Second para “let him return to the life he *had* loved” – consider removing ‘had’? I don’t think it needs to be there and sounds awkward to me.
2) Maybe – and only maybe – try to think of a word other than ‘evil’ for the phantasm. If its something that would be a threat to a 1000 year old vamp, it's obvious it would have to be something pretty damn nasty. ‘Evil’ can be a bit of a cliché sometimes?
These are tiny points – if you don’t incorporate either of my suggestions I won’t be offended in any way :) Honest! This is of course just one person's opinion which doesn’t mean it will be right for you or your book.
Good luck and well done again!
Thank you once again for the detailed feedback! I'm very glad that this works for you now.
Yeah, I wasn't too fond of the "old as humanity itself" line, either. It was one of those things that came out when I was writing this, but I couldn't think of anything better so I wound up leaving it for a while.
As to your two points, I have removed the "had" from the one sentence, and I've replaced "evil" with "malevolent" in the other. It's still a synonym, obviously, but I think it is more descriptive (and accurate, actually--yeah, the phantasm is "pretty damn nasty," as you say :) ). And you're right, "evil" can be one of those filler words that we just gloss over, since it is used so much.
Anyway, thank you so much for the suggestions! If there's anything else, trust me you won't be hurting my feelings if you point it out. I’m an editor at heart, too. Thanks again!
Glad to be of service! ;)
Hey Chris, I'm going to send you an email about this. It's much stronger. Very enticing, but there's one or two places where it could be more concise.
I hate to say this, but I thought your first hook (from the two spoilered ones you posted yesterday) was the most intriguing. That's because I liked the tone the best. It felt the most exciting and accessible. I'm breaking with strep or else I'd give you a more detailed analysis. Maybe I can manage it after a cup of tea and some vitamins.
Thank you for your input! Don't worry, dissenting opinions are always welcome. We all come from different backgrounds and have different tastes, so every opinion is very helpful. I'll take another look at the two side by side, and see what I think.
I'm so sorry to hear that you're coming down ill! I hope you feel better soon...
Very strong hook Christopher - I'm quite a jaded fantasy reader and I would open the book to read the first page based on this.
I haven't read the other hooks, so this one is totally fresh to me.
There are just two things I would change. One is grammatical: "a race of demons want" should be "a race of demons wants" (race is the noun).
The other is explanatory - the words "the free peoples" made me go "hunh?" which is not good. Maybe say: The Otherworld's Free People turning them into a resistance group.
But well done!
Thanks very much for the comments! I'm very glad that you found this to be an effective hook.
Good catch on the grammatical issue with want/wants. I've made that change, and that also changes the following "for their own" to "for its own" for the same reason.
Thanks also for your candor with "the free peoples." I've simply changed that to "the free peoples of the Otherworld," which will hopefully be suitably clear.
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