Do you picture the in-box of the agent you are desperate to work with? E-queries stacked in arrival, chronological, order from ankle to somewhere round about the neck, or over?
Presuming the scan over the query letter has not highlighted any glaring grammatical errors, the beginning is the only chance to make a good impression.
A hook – a creative device that grabs someone’s attention – must be baited to attract attention: smoldering, moldering, wriggling desperately - bright, glittery or bouncy; this opening line is the only chance we’ve got.
If you played along with Nathan Bransford (tried to read every opening paragraph posted on his blog) you will have found, like I did, that your eyes glaze over, after five or six words, and you automatically move on.
Hooks? Steak and spices: everyone likes things cooked differently.
Gotta love Larry Brooks. I keep his advice uppermost in my mind when I attempt to bait my hook
What is the conceptual hook/appeal of your story?
What is the theme(s) of your story?
How does your story open? Is there an immediate hook?
what is the hero doing in their life before the first plot point?
what stakes are established prior to the first plot point?
what is your character’s backstory?
what inner demons show up here that will come to bear on the hero later in the story?
what is foreshadowed prior to the first plot point?