Tag Archives: hooks

Helpful Writing Sites and Blog Posts May 2011

It’s time for my monthly round up of helpful writing sites and blog posts. All links will be added to the masterlist (link at top of blog).


50 Books That Will Make You a Better Writer

A list of 50 of the best writing books, from Stephen King’s On Writing to Stunk and White’s The Element of Style.

Need Some Bling for Your Title? Try PRISM

Five elements to keep in mind when brainstorming an effective title for your novel.

How to Write the Ending of Your Novel

Author Joanna Penn gives tips on writing the ending of your novel so the reader will finish the book wanting to buy your next novel.

How to Write (a Book). A Wee Rant

12 points on how to write. No, this isn’t about the technicalities of writing, or plot, it’s about sitting your butt down and actually putting words on a page. One of my favourite lines, “No wonder we all have writer’s block. We’re not even writing. Plumbers don’t have plumber’s block, do they? NO, THEY GET ON THE FLOOR AND CLEAR OUT THE WINDEX AND EVIDENCE OF MOUSE POOP UNDER THE SINK AND GET TO PLUMBING.”

The Only 12 1/2 Writing Rules You’ll Ever Need

A great motivational poster for writers with some great tips.

Ponder, Polish, Perfect: How to Successfully Revise

Literary Agent Natalie Fischer goes over some ideas to help you ‘re-envision’ your work.

Wordcount Dracula

Literary agent Jennifer Laughran (aka literaticat) has put together a very comprhensive post on word counts in kidlit (PBs through YA) including examples of published books.

Picture Book Construction: Know Your Layout

A must read post for picture book writers on picture book layout and having an awareness of page breaks.

16 Manuscript Format Guidelines

Getting ready to send of your manuscript to a publisher and all the guidelines say are, ‘Standard Manuscript Format’ and you’re not sure what that means? This helpful post outlines what standard manuscript formatting entails. A couple of the points are a little outdated, so I would also suggest scrolling down through the comments that correct them. And in particular have a look at the comment by NEB which is quite informative.


Hook ‘Em In (in three seconds or less)

Literary agent Natalie Fischer gives some helpful hook tips.


The Seven Book Marketing Mistakes That Authors Make

Want your book to sell? Make sure you’re not making these marketing mistakes. A couple of these are more applicable to self-published authors, but some of them are applicable to all authors.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself After Hearing: We Can’t Sell Enough to Justify Publishing It

Some tips on what to do next. I’ve put this under the heading of marketing because in most part the tips relate to making your book more marketable or building your author platform.


Formatting Posts and Pages

Geared towards WordPress users, but helpful to other blogging platform users too, this post outlines the golden rule for formatting your blog posts to make them easier for your readers to read (hence keeping their attention).

Blog Law – Is Your Giveaway Legal?

Many writers I know do giveaways/ have competitions on their blogs. But are those giveaways/competitions legal? An attorney and blogger provides information on running blog giveaways in simple/easy to understand terms.

A Strong Beginning

Today I was discussing beginnings on a writers’ forum and I mentioned that I believed the basis of a strong beginning to any story is the ‘hook’. A strong beginning draws your readers into the story and makes them want to continue reading. How the beginning is structured depends a lot on what sort of story you are writing and the genre of the story. Some stories are effective when they start at the end and then go back to the beginning to explain how the characters got to that point. This can be effective as the reader wants to know how the characters ended up there. Some beginnings launch straight into the action so that the reader is thrown right into the middle of the story right from the first few words. Some authors (myself included) use a descriptive passage to start their stories to set the scene or to introduce their main character.

However it is written, the most important part is finding that hook. How are you going to get the readers to want to keep reading? Here are a few of my beginnings where I have tried to hook the reader and the various methods I used:

Starting at the end

I would never have believed when I woke up yesterday morning that I would be dead only twenty-four hours later.

Setting up the characters and story

Lleyton waited in his bedroom.

“She’ll be here any second,” he thought to himself.

Lleyton ran his hand through his sleek blonde hair and turned his eyes towards the closed door, willing it to open. He started to become anxious; worried that she would not come at all.

Introducing the main character

The door creaked open slowly. A man with an unkept appearance and a gnarled face entered the room, his back hunched over as he pushed a bucket and mop in front of him. He sloshed the mop about in the soapy water and proceeded to wet the floor in an even sweeping motion.

Reflection (of thought)

Peter studied his reflection in the tall, ebony framed mirror. He straightened his black bow tie and smoothed his plain black dinner jacket. He attempted to flatten his dark hair where it stubbornly stood up at the back, but it simply refused to lie flat.

As Peter studied his image reflected in the mirrored glass, he couldn’t help but remember how often he had been compared to his father, Vincent. Peter was the spitting image of his father, everyone had always said so. Peter sighed regretfully. He would give anything for his father to be with him right now, to have him by his side as he celebrated his special day.

Setting the time period

It had been seven months since the war ended. The few Black Spider Militants that were still roaming free had gone underground. We had honoured the dead and spent months rebuilding our homes and the surrounding areas, which had been destroyed as a result of Manello’s reign of terror and the fighting that had taken place.

Setting the scene

The dining room denoted wealth. Heavy velvet drapes were drawn over tall narrow windows. Silver and gold plates and goblets adorned antique cabinets. A maid busied herself stoking the large open fire in the corner before disappearing silently out of sight, as though she had never been there. Three young women sat erect at the mahogany dining table, the chandelier that hung from the ceiling casting a dull light upon them.

Creating an atmosphere

A cruel wind whipped violently against the stone walls of the castle. The grey sky carried a sense of foreboding. A lone figure fought against the elements to gain entry through the wooden front doors of Pickerton House.
Straight into the action

Take that!
Penny Wentworth felt the pain consume her entire body. Her shrill scream echoed around the stone dungeon.
Caroline Fey released the lever and looked down upon the defeated form of Penny with a contemptuous sneer.
“Well girly, you’re not so cocky now are you?” she taunted.