Thursday, March 22, 2007

Playing "Hooky"

IN THE NEWS: According to World Magazine, "Officials for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife forced one Vermont home to give up its 125 pound pet alligator because, as an expert noted, gigantic reptiles aren't the kind of things people need to keep in their basement. 'They don't warm up to people. They don't become friendly. They don't make good pets.'"
(Uh, you think?)

So anyhew, I stopped by Rachel Vater's blog the other day. Oooh! Was I glad I did. That woman had some really neat ideas on creating the perfect "hook" for a story.

Normally, I don't think about hooks. But since I'm thinking--thinking, mind you--about writing a more mainstream book, I thought I should do some research.

Check it out. She said this:

"But coming up with a hook is not rocket science. Figure out what hooks YOU. What do YOU find compelling? Keep a list of plot elements that raised your eyebrows. Keep a list of things that cracked you up or amazed you. And keep your eyes open as you go about living your life. An interesting news article can spark a situation in your mind: What would happen if...? Jot it down. Mull it over. See if it still has you excited a week later. Build more layers into it. Escalate the tension. Block off obvious plot choice solutions for your characters so they have to be more inventive in how they solve their problems or gather clues or escape from the bad guys. Read the back jacket of books. Spend a few hours in your bookstore browsing books in your genre and really pay attention to the ones that hook you and ask yourself why. (Don't just THINK about doing this... go out there and do your field research.) Read opening pages to the ones that hook you. They probably have a zinger opening too. Figure out why that opening page also hooks you (or doesn't.) Ask yourself what it makes you feel and how the writer got you to feel it. Then write it down: "

So (taking her advice) I went to the library with my little one yesterday and went through several book jackets that looked interesting--as well as some that didn't look interesting--trying to figure out what my thought process was when I decided to read a book.

And you know what? I think I confused myself, because I have quite an eclectic taste in books.

Hmmm. So... maybe my character--the one with the really cool career now--can help her brooding forensic scientist boyfriend solve muder crimes by day and then go shoe shopping and vampire hunting with her catty superhero girlfriends at night.

What do say?

I think I may be on to something.


Elle Fredrix said...

So when people ask you'd have to say you right...ah. hmmm...Suspenseful, paranormal, chick-lit. Too long. How about suparchi?

That was great info, thanks for sharing. It would be a good exercise to go back and look at the hooks in my fav books.

Rhonda Stapleton said...

LOLOLOL nice...sounds like you're on to something big there! LOL