Long ago, with the ‘classics’, they used to use a chapter or more to set the stage for the book. I can think of a book that was over a 100 pages setting the story. About 20 years ago, you got a couple pages. Now authors have the first line, maybe a paragraph, if you’re lucky a page to catch the reader’s attention.
I think some of that is because of TV. We are used to more instant gratification. In an hour, minus commercial time, we have that whole story. Still they have changed it a little on hooking their watcher. When I was a kid, names & credits were on the very first, now they’re after the opening scene or at the end. They want to get the reader involved in that story as soon as possible. So quick revamp:
*The Hook: Which is pulling the reader into the story.
*The 1st line − You should catch interest.
*The 1st and 2nd paragraph – you should have them.
* By the end of 1st page – the reader need to want more – some kind of emotional investment or interest.
Each chapter, it should have a hook so you are continually pulling them in.
There are different types of hooks, the ideas, fortunately, are endless.
*a single word or phrase – dialogue that catches
*an action or advent – something that happens that is unexpected or stunning; or the reader knows there is going to be a consequence to.
Any of these are great ways to start just remember to keep it tight. You don’t want a lot of extra words or description and no backstory. That comes later in the coming paragraphs.
Here's where I’m going to add a words of wisdom-
***Remember you can break any rule − if you do it well.***
For a couple examples of hooks I have two books releasing in July, each have very different hooks.
Example 1) Kare For Me
“What?” Kaira hit the turn signal, pulling into the parking lot in front of Body Kare, the massage therapy clinic she hoped to open in just two days. Kaira climbed out of her car fighting back tears at the sight of black grease smeared across the delicate white letters which she had carefully stenciled on the window.
What did we learn: opening a single word and we have shock, surprise. In the paragraph we learn name, she’s starting a new business, someone is vandalizing her shop so we have a threat, and she is upset so hopefully we feel for her. It gives a lot to build on.
Example 2) Blind Witness
The single tune caught Rachelle’s attention as Lois, the other person in the small office, transferred the incoming call to her terminal. With knowing fingers, Rachelle picked up the headphones sliding them on with practiced ease.
“Clairbourne Industries, Mr. Clairbourne nor his personal assistant are available at the moment. If you would like to leave a message, I will make sure it is brought to their attention.” She waited. If it weren’t for the faint breathing sounds on the line, Rachelle would’ve thought whoever it was had hung up.
“Who is this?” The words were curt, demanding.
“This is Clairbourne’s executive answering service. If you would like I can redirect your call or take a message.”
There was another long pause. Rachelle shifted in her seat. For nearly two months she’d fielded calls for the executive levels of Clairbourne Industries. She hadn’t felt this uneasy since her first days, and then it was out of concern over her own abilities to handle the job. She forced a swallow to relieve the dryness that settled in her throat while her hands remained poised over her computer keyboard waiting to input every word exchanged.
“May I ask who is calling?” she asked to break the silence.
“You have a beautiful voice.” The words came back startling her. Her fingers paused for a second over the keyboard then the voice continued and so did she. “Are you as beautiful as you sound? Soft, sweet, innocent, an angel, Clairbourne’s going to need an angel. He’s going to die.”
What did we learn: Start a single sound-nothing ominous, then he doesn’t talk, tension climbs, speaks harsh, she swallows - fear is setting in but she holds together. That tells us something about her. Gets a touch eerie - then kicker – “He’s going to die.” Hopefully i have you to want to read more.
If you go another page down you also find another surprise that tilts the story again, but you can probably guess that one.
Anyway, think of your story and how to pull readers into it. If it’s easier for you, some people start writing and get a feel of the story then they go back and rewrite the beginning with a hook.
Whatever works for you is the right.
Like building anything, your story needs the basics- You need a Plot – what you’re trying to do in your story. The concept of it. You need to know what you’re building: * Townhouse - Series
* Single family - Stand alone
* Mansion - Epic novel * Etc. You also need to know if it’s contemporary, historical, western, futuristic, science fiction or fantasy. Don’t forget to add the purpose – Plot - man that word again, you really do need it.Your materials - CharactersAnd a blueprint - OutlineYour Outline can be detailed or a rough sketch, that depends on you as a writer, but it does help to know where you are going. You need to know what rooms - scenes you are putting in to complete the story.
Don't let this intimidate you. You don't have to have this all laid out now. The big thing is to know what your story is about. There are more break downs to this we'll talk about later, but if you can have these in mind when you start, it will go easier. Also you might want to think of the subplots. They make for differences in the story.
- Beginning conflict
- Continuous conflict on the way
- Big blow out problem
- The dark period when it doesn’t look like in can possibly work out
- And lastly - resolution
So you want to write a book.
I was told once that writing a book was like eating an elephant. One bite at a time. I like this because looking at writing a whole book is daunting, but each line, really each word, gets you closer to that finished book.
So back to the 250 Club. With 250 words each day you can do it.
Start tracking today and let me know when you finish. There might be a prize, besides your book at the end. It's something I will have to think about. Possibly doing a drawing for all those who complete by a certain time. In fact, I think maybe I'll have to do it twice a year since people will be starting at different times depending when they find my blog and start their book. July 4 2015 and January 1st 2016. Celebrating freedom and the New Year. I like the idea. More to come on this in the future.
*Let’s get started-
I’ve been writing sweet romantic suspense and YA adventure romance actively for about 25 years, with a break to read my 2,000 books that I was told a writer should do. I completed that in just over two years, which is the condensed version of a long story. Anyway, since coming out of the closet and admitting I write, the comment I get most is: “I always wanted to write a book”.
With more than twenty books completed that's something I know about and can maybe help with. Hopefully, along our journey we can learn some stuff together. So without any further ado, I want to introduce you to the 250 club.
What the 250 club - well- if you write 250 words for 250 days you will have a 62,500 words book at the end. That’s a good average book. Some will go longer, some shorter but its a good mark to reach for.
So if you write 250 words everyday excluding weekends and holidays (the big holidays) in one year you will have completed your book. If you write everyday for eight and a half months you’ll be done.
This is doable! 250 words is only about a half hour at the most. I’m a slow typist and I can actually do it. The half hour should also gives you a little thought time.
Over the next few days I will give you some more hints to get you started then I will drop back to what will be my monthly blogging schedule. Which will be-
1st week of the month: 250 Club, writers words of wisdom – obviously not all from me – just stuff I’ve learned.
2nd week: Recipes that I use in my books.
3rd week: My Lady – about 5 - 10 pages a time. My Lady is the first book I wrote. Hopefully I’ve grown as a writer since then, but still really love the story. So it’s free for you for your enjoyment and maybe as a little encouragement.
4th week: A thought, quote or just something fun or maybe even helpful.
5th week: If there is one - I’ll try to find some special or maybe extra words of wisdom.
I want to add a disclaimer right here to my blog, everything I add I will try to give credit where it's due, if I know. Most of what's here is my own twist on what I learn, so take it as it will help you.
I will also apologize up front that my blog maybe a touch rough since I'm keeping this kind of low-key and natural. I am not running this through my critique partners or having it edited. I struggle with punctuation. I can’t put in a comma into save me. I also leave off the ending of the words, or even forget them entirely on occasion. So, if I do make errors, I hope you will forgive me. I will try to be good. I just know me.