I recently entered a “hook” contest in which I was advised to rewrite mine to focus on just one of three major characters. This bothered me a great deal—I feel it is dishonest. The three characters’ plots intertwine by the end, and they all get equal playing time. Why send a hook that focuses on one character, but then send a partial (if requested) featuring totally different characters? The one the judge wanted me to target doesn’t even appear until Chapter 3, and the story isn’t uniquely hers (even if she appears the “most conflicted” as the judge advised).
So—what do you prefer to see in queries with multiple protags? Is it OK to have a hook focus on one character, or would you rather see a strong hook for all 3?
Without reading your hook it’s difficult for me to really assess what’s going on here, but it sounds to me that the judge’s feedback was based more on the story overall and less on the hook. My guess is that her feedback is saying that your description of one of the characters was more enticing than the other two and that maybe that character is your hook. In other words, maybe it’s less about writing a hook about just one character and more about writing a book about just one character.
Your description above is a little confusing, and if that’s any indication of how your hook reads you’re probably in trouble. The difficulty of writing a hook with multiple characters is that it does usually get confusing and makes the reader wonder if that’s really your hook. For example, Tempt Me, Taste Me, Touch Me by Bella Andre is a novella collection and therefore a book with three different stories. Her hook, however, is universal: On a road trip to California wine country three women give in to a world of sensual delights. There’s the hook in one sentence and it neatly encompasses what is about to happen to all three women. It also grabs your attention.
My suggestion is you look at things in two different ways. First of all look at your book. Is the hook really what happens to each character or is there something universal that connects them that is in fact your hook? Or is my interpretation of the judge’s suggestion correct? Is the hook in fact that one woman’s story, and should she really become the central character of your book? Of course that’s a lot more work, but would it make a stronger book?
Also refer back to the posts I’ve done on writing a hook in five words, but no more than one sentence.