Hook Me Up

Forget writing a novel–what about the pitch'? That one perfect sentence designed to describe the plot and provide an emotional hook so that whoever you're telling it to says "I want to read more!"

I've struggled with my pitch Diary of Bedlam, but the reason I'm writing this post today is because I'm formulating my hook for my second novel. I'm hoping it helps me solidify the theme and give me a broad idea of the direction I'm going in.

In television and film it's called a logline. Today I spent some time at the Internet Movie Database reading loglines of films I've seen so I could get a feel for it.

Training Day:
On his first day on the job as a narcotics officer, a rookie cop works with a rogue detective who isn't what he appears.

Donnie Brasco:
An FBI undercover agent infilitrates the mob and finds himself identifying more with the mafia life to the expense of his regular one.

The Silence of the Lambs:
A young FBI cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.

Point Break:
An FBI agent goes undercover to catch a gang of bank robbers who may be surfers.

A History of Violence:
A mild-mannered man becomes a local hero through an act of violence, which sets off repercussions that will shake his family to its very core.

Body Heat:
In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman convinces her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband.

After looking at some of these examples, I realized I've made the process of coming up with a logline way too complicated. When I knocked my story down to the essentials, it was right there waiting for me.

I'm not going to post it here because the new novel is in its beginning stages and I want to keep it to myself for now. I will, however, tell you the logline for Diary of Bedlam:

In 1678 London, a fortuneteller's client is murdered and she must find the killer amid the politics and intrigue of Charles II's court before she becomes the next victim.

Of course, Diary of Bedlam is about much more than that, but at its core, this is the plot. I'm hoping it will make my potential audience say "Hook me up with some of that!"

Holly West

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