is this hook too much, or do I need more.

by Jeremy

Question: I am writing a story about a family who loses their immortality. I was wondering if this would be a good way to start it. "Life ceased to a halt. For the first time in a long time they felt the cloak of dread known as fear."

Answer: A good effort to create an emotional tone, but I have few suggestions. Forgive me if they sound harsh, but editors are often harsher.

1. Try to be more specific. What precisely happens? Paint a picture of the event using sensory details. Also, why say "in a long time." Wouldn't it be more interesting to say exactly how many years it has been, thus making the reader curious as to how these people can have lived so long?

2. Avoid apparent contradictions. Your first sentence implies they died. Your second says they were afraid. How can they be afraid if they're already dead?

3. Give the reader one particular character's point of view, rather than "they," which is less specific.

4. Avoid redundancies. For instance, consider the phrase "ceased to a halt." Why not just say "ceased" or "halted"? There's no other way for something to cease than "to a halt" so the modifying phrase doesn't add any additional information.

Similarly, consider "the cloak of dread known as fear." "Dread" and "fear" mean the same thing, so again, I would cut the phrase "known as fear" because it's just repetition.

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