The Hook

Christopher Allan Poe and Bonnie Hearn Hill

At a recent San Joaquin Sisters in Crime meeting, Christopher Allan Poe and Bonnie Hearn Hill gave a wonderful presentation on Hooks. Some of the tips they came up with were things I hadn't even thought of as hooks, for instance:

The first two hooks are the title and the book cover.

Next comes the first line. Start the reader off with a question that pulls them into the story.

I still think my best first line came from Murder in the Worst Degree:

Except for the dead body washed up on the sand, conditions were perfect for surfing.

Next come the first couple of paragraphs.

Again, asking questions the reader wants to keep reading to find the answers.

Right away, will the reader know the time frame.

Voice of the protagonist.

Writer's style sensed right away.

First chapter must hook the reader into continuing on.

The popularity of genres seem to cycle.

Bridging Conflict means taking an unrelatd event that will take the story to leading conflict or story question.

The story question should appear right away. Characters should continue to grow.

Don't have a wishy-washy story question.

When the answer comes, that's the end of the story.

External conflict makes people turn the page.

How long does it take to get to the conflict? One character wants one thing, the other doesn't. Conflict needs to escalate. Reasoning, bargining, enticing away from main argument. Threat and big escalation.

Every sentence should push the story along.

The hook should be pulled close to the POV character.

Don't tell how the person reacts, show it through facial expressions and the body.

--Marilyn aka F. M. Meredith


John M. Wills said…
That's good stuff, Marilyn, I'll put a link on my local writers' page on FB.

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