Monday, July 16, 2012

Let's Talk About Hookers

Well, I was just doing some innocent blog reading when I came across Gossip Girl's most recent post. She is participating in this hop thing wherein you post hooks from the beginning chapters of one or more books you are reading/have read. I suppose the idea is to make you think about what makes a good hook for the budding writer or even a writer withering on the vine.

I learned a couple of things in trying to do this exercise. First, this is not as easy to do on your Kindle as it is with a real, live book. Second, be careful of paper cuts with a real, live book when you are flipping around like a crazy person just trying to find the next chapter. Lastly, I inwardly bemoaned the loss of so many of my real, life books. Space has become a SERIOUS ISSUE, and almost all of them have been donated to the library. Hence the luxury of spending the money on a Kindle. I love my Kindle because I can make the print as large as I like, but rebuilding my book collection would essentially take forever. Of course, I tell myself I can always check out any book I really want to read again at... the library. *sigh* And that works most days. Most importantly, after I came up with ten hooks by other authors I finally understood that they wanted ten hooks that I had written from my own writing. Ugghh. That left me with quite the conundrum. The only serious writing I have done is my book I started and put down because I just got LOST in it.

However, I knew where it was.

And I only had to find three decent hooks at the beginning of three chapters. And I had done a LOT of writing. Of course, you want excellent, outstanding, fabulous hooks. But you get what you get. And, once again, I find that one sentence often doesn't tell the tale. Sometimes you really need two to SINK IT. Better yet, that first paragraph. If it is SHORT.

So, here are my hooks from the novel I thought I might never pick up again...

"Two years," Jake said.

It was all I could do not to hold out my hand and make him pinkie promise. I smiled at the thought of Jake's reaction to that. He would think I was certifiable. I wondered if he even remembered the pinkie promise made so long ago.

The knot in my stomach had settled in at 9:00 and was becoming increasingly painful by the minute.

Jake grabbed my arm as I turned into the empty room. "Explain that. What do you mean by ALL OF IT?" he thundered. His words echoed around the room.

Yep. Those are the hooks from the long-forgotten novel. Or so it would seem. Now I am thinking about it again. Buggers. I know my brain. It will work this until I can find a way to bridge the gap from the middle to the End. Egads.

I didn't see any specific rules about how many hooks you needed for this post. It appeared to me that ten or so was sufficient. So, I set that as my goal. I picked out three books. Two I have read before. One several times. One only once because it just broke my heart. And the last I picked up at the library today. Some books are just too darn expensive for my Kindle! And I so enjoy actually turning the page. *bigger sigh*

It has occurred to me that I need a fourth book because I only have nine hooks, so I am adding one from my all-time favorite series by Janet Evanovich. Yep. Stephanie Plum. That series cracks me up. So we will start with that one.

Favorite Series Ever:
One For The Money by Janet Evanovich

There are some men who enter a woman's life and screw it up forever. Joseph Morelli did this to me- not forever, but periodically.

And the one that I have read numerous times:
Running From Safety by Richard Bach

My truth has been a long time refining. I've explored and drilled for it with hope and intuition, filtered and condensed it the best I could with reflection, then run it through my engines, wary at first, to see what would happen.

It must happen to us all, I thought. We pack up what we've learned so far and leave the familiar behind. No fun, that shearing separation, but somewhere within we must dimly know that saying good-bye to safety brings the only security we'll ever know.

"Leslie, why don't I forget the whole thing? I have a lot better things to do with my life than to play with my own imagination."

Every word in my mind shattered, I was silent for an answer. He's right, I thought at last, this is his country. Those few times I reached for an old memory, here is where I came: dry, dead, lost, everything that used to be, turned to dust. After a while I had shrugged, happy childhood but a terrible memory, and learned to live without my youth, most of it. Here it lay.

I know that some of them offer more than one sentence hooks, but I think that they are short enough to qualify for a hook. So.... moving on.

Haven't read yet, but next up:
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare Book Four in The Mortal Instruments series

"You know what's awesome?" said Eric, setting down his drumsticks. "Having a vampire in our band. This is the one thing that's really going to take us over the top."

"Your girlfriend?" Alec looked astonished. So did Maryse. Simon couldn't say he was unastonished himself. "You dated a vampire? A girl vampire?"

"It was a hundred and thirty years ago," said Magnus. "I haven't seen her since."

This is the book that broke my heart:
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

CLARE: It's hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he is okay. It's hard to be the one who stays.

HENRY: Matt and I are playing Hide and Seek in the stacks in Special Collections. He's looking for me because we are supposed to be giving a calligraphy Show and Tell to a Newberry Trustee and her Ladies' Lettering Club. I'm hiding from him because I'm trying to get all of my clothes on my body before he finds me.

HENRY: I wake up in the middle of the night with a thousand razor-toothed insects gnawing on my legs and before I can even shake a Vicodin out of the bottle I am falling.

And there they are... 10 hooks. Some took a few sentences, rather than just one, to really make the hook great. And, of course, some are only really funny if you are familiar with the characters. Anyone who has read the Mortal Instruments series will appreciate those hooks. The rest of you probably not so much. Ah well. I like how she mixes the humor into the seriousness of her subject matter, but that is just me. Anyway, the exercise made me appreciate the art of a well written hook. If you would like to participate, go to Cassie Mae's page or Falling for Fiction and jump on the hop. Granted, you don't have much time... so hurry. Of, course there is still Hangers in a few days (whatever the heck that will be!), and I have no doubt it will be interesting.


  1. Very cool to post other books, rather than your own. I have actually read most of those books and think they were fabulous. :) Thanks for participating :)

  2. As you can see, you read this before the edit. I finally got with "The Program" and figured out what this whole thing was about and added some of my own writing to this thing. Can I say LONG DAY????

  3. I love the pinkie promise paragraph! And, yay for The Time Traveler's Wife, such great hooks.

  4. Very nice posting, and actually have not read any of the books mentioned, but after reading the hookers may just have to add them to my list. Enjoyed reading your posting!

  5. Poot... and here I am... expecting a post about hookers...


    I hope all is well for you!


  6. Great hookers! Looking forward to reading your hangers :) I'm just picking up the Janet Evanovich series now, very fun reading!

  7. Wow...awesome hooks...I must admit I found myself saddened when I got to the end of your book hook. I could have kept on should get back into it; you have a unique talent of capturing your audience and keeping them engaged! ~Hugs, xoxo

  8. First of all, I love the dog in tree picture. Hilarious. Secondly, your hooks rocked.

  9. Love these hookers ;) Thanks so much for participating!

  10. I laughed at the pinky primise one :D Made me curious how old the characters are :)

  11. ALL OF WHAT? I want to know, cause that's a hook!

  12. Oh I love that you included other books. Now I'm going to have to pull out some of mine and look at the hookers. (I'll watch out for paper cuts ;))

    Loved yours, btw. Awesome job!

  13. Awesome! These are great. I love that line from Cassandra Clare's 4th book. So great!

  14. All of what? That's a pretty good hook, and the pinky promise works great too.

  15. The pinky promise is my choice as well!

  16. Yep, the "all of what" thing gets me too.


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