Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hangers Aren't Just for Closets

Remember when I posted about hookers? Actually, it was just about good hooks for the first chapter of your novel, but hookers got your attention, did it not? Today we are jumping to the end of the chapter and seeing what grabs you... the hanger. It is that pivotal sentence that decides whether or not you keep on reading. Hopefully, the storyline is so good that you keep on reading even if your hanger is only mediocre, because I have turned a lot of pages over the last few days and discovered that even the best writers don't always pull off excellent hooks or hangers every chapter. Instead, they rely on that little thing called character development and strong storyline to push the whole thing along. However, it never hurts to start and end your chapters with punch. At least sometimes....

So, Falling for Fiction and Cassie Mae are running a bloghop/contest looking for submissions of our best Hangers of our current Work In Progress. The top three get judged and winners get selected. Works get critiqued. It is kinda sorta a big deal. Anyone who has even this tip of this iceberg figured out understands that they need lots of eyes on their writing in order to whip it into shape. Edit Edit Edit is the name of this game. And if you can get someone to look at it to help you actually figure out some of your excesses, plotting errors, etc. you can really start to make things happen with your WIP. So moving on to my Hangers for this Event...

I had no idea what I was going to tell him, but the truth was out of the question.

He was so solid. I felt so amorphous. I hoped that what he had was contagious.

It made me so mad I nearly socked him in the eye.

and just for fun:
Was that really all that was left to me? I realized that it was.

Like the last time, I went sifting through my book collection to see what Hangers the published authors came up with to see how it was "done." Here are their offerings:

Richard Bach in The Bridge Across Forever:

Grounded and rich and homeless, I hit the streets on a planet of four billion five hundred million souls, and in that moment I began looking full-time for the one woman who, according to the best people who ever lived, wasn't there at all.

After that, when I looked for him, everything went dark.

Don't forget! I shouted wordless, across decades. Never forget this moment!

Janet Evanovich in Three To Get Deadly:

We all stood staring at door number three.

"That's Lula," I said. "She's got the runs."

Our eyes met, and Vinnie laughed his nasty little laugh and I knew he had something good for me.

Deborah Smith in A Place To Call Home:

Some brands of kindness are hard to abide.

The world is spanned by small bridges between people. He'd crossed another one.

I exhaled as if I'd been holding my breath for years.

And that gives you some idea as to how hard it is to find good hangers. I had a terrible time finding good hangers in THREE TO GET DEADLY, and it is my favorite Plum book in the series. But the hangers were, by and large, terrible. Even Richard Bach's book was tough to pull a good hanger from, which shocked me. Deborah Smith's book was full of them. Of course, I really love her books; they almost always make me cry. But that is really neither here nor there. The point was hangers.

It made me feel better that even published authors have a tough time with writing a good hanger. Or maybe I should have gone to the library and pulled out a Patterson novel. All of mine are in storage. Don't know. In any event, this was definitely a learning experience. Win or lose, I learned something. So, that makes it a win. Yay!


  1. The first one was nicely written. :) That was my favorite.

  2. Interesting that you posted some hangers from published works, it gives us a good idea of what we're competing with as writers.

    Also, I agree with the other Rachel. The first one was my favorite. :)

  3. #1 is hillarius. The MC's voice is perfect and the hanger is one I wish I had thought of!

  4. Yep, loved them all :) Great hangers!

  5. I found #2 very intriguing. Sounds like an eventful relationship between these two!

  6. When I was a kid I used to dream of being a writer in New York city. I had a worse reaction to New York than I did to Arizona and I've needed to go there many times. It never gets any better between New York and I...
    But the writer still lives in me. I will have to think about all this hookers and hangers thing!

  7. I like the first one! I also like the pic of the dog stuck up in the tree, poor thing!

  8. I love seeing just the tidbits from your work ... truly, makes me want more ... :)

  9. As a writer, I know good hooks are essential, and I do have trouble writing them. Hookers never attract my attention. In my life, I at least make an attempt at character development.

  10. Playing catch up commenting today. All of the endings stuck out there and sound like good reading.:)

  11. This is my fave:

    He was so solid. I felt so amorphous. I hoped that what he had was contagious.

    Nice work :)

  12. This is a fantastic line:

    He was so solid. I felt so amorphous. I hoped that what he had was contagious.


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