Q. I am currently reading “Crafty Screenwriting” and was curious about the hook aspect. For movies that are in the same realm as M. Night Shyamalan, where there’s is a reveal or twist at the end, do you reveal that in the hook? I realize that Shyamalan’s plots usually include other elements than just the reveal; but would a writer who is in that genre submit the hook based on the reveal or the other (perhaps less interesting) plot elements?
A. I wouldn’t reveal what the hook is. The story needs to stand on its own without the surprise; otherwise you lose your audience before you get to the hook. Sixth Sense works by itself without the surprise; the surprise just makes it better. That’s why The Village didn’t work for me. It’s just super boring until you find out the surprise.
So for a query, I’d stick to what people are going to experience before the reveal.