The Write Word with Wareeze
Hello again readers. Thank you for allowing me to share a few moments of your time. In earlier postings, together we have covered the When and the Where. Now it’s time for the What. Setting the scene with when in time, day or night, raining or sunshine, cold or hot, even lukewarm has been discussed. We continued with the period, historical or contemporary times and the where, country where the story takes place—city, village, in the wilderness, and at sea or dry land. Finally, we come to the what. What is the hook/the problem to be solved to draw the reader into the story?
The hook should always appear in the first few lines or paragraphs of the tale. It’s always helpful to have a fresh set of eyes on the writing so I recently asked a friend to read my work in progress. After reading the first page, she wanted to know the problem-the hook. I knew the hook but had failed to inform the reader. What a mistake. I truly didn’t know I had failed in my goal to involve a reader in the story until she mentioned the problem to me.
I have posted the first page of my new release below. Dissect it with me and see if I did deliver a hook.
A Lady’s Vanishing Choices
Bethany Ann Littleton pulled on the reins, bringing the gig to a halt, and gazed about at the peaceful scene. Silence, blessed silence, blanketed the forest, but the serenity surrounding her did little to stem the tide of angry tears slipping down her cheeks unchecked. Uncle Arthur would have her hide if he returned and discovered her absence, especially after taking the gig without permission.
She didn’t care. Even a beating would be worth it to escape Aunt Gertrude’s sharp tongue ringing a peel over her head. She clenched her hands into fists, finally exhaling a long sigh. Maggie, the closest thing she had to a mother figure, would scold her for behavior unworthy of a lady.
The scene is set: The reader knows it’s not raining and this scene is in the day time. Bringing the gig to a halt, she gazed at the peaceful scene. You know it is set in times past because of pulling the reins and guiding a gig. She is in the forest. The reader can tell she is an orphan because of her concern about her aunt and uncle. The second line is the HOOK.
Silence, blessed silence, blanketed the forest, but the serenity surrounding her did little to stem the tide of angry tears slipping down her cheeks unchecked.
She is angry with her aunt. Is her upset justified? Will the reader want to know what happened to cause her impulsive behavior in taking the gig without permission?
Dashing her tears away before climbing out of the gig, she strolled into the trees. She picked a few wild flowers, sniffing their slight fragrance, and enjoyed the opportunity to linger, if that was her want.
Perhaps her anger is a storm in a teacup, perhaps not. Will the reader wish to read more to discover the answer? Conflict. Without conflict there is no story. Each scene should have a hook to draw the reader into the story. Problems arise from her loss of temper.
The clatter of a thud and scrape against the ground reached her ears. What on earth? Alert now, she strained to listen. Again the thud and scrape echoed in a steady rhythm. She recognized the noise of a shovel being plied. Such a sound deep in the forest instantly announced something unusual, even sinister and dangerous. The hairs on back of her neck stood on end and she froze in place. She was alone, vulnerable. Discovery of her presence could herald a ruined reputation perhaps even sending her into actual peril. She shivered. Why had she allowed vexation and self-pity to drive her to act on such a reckless impulse?
Why indeed. Each scene should have a cliff-hanger to make the reader want to turn the page. Do you think the hook is enough to garner interest in the story? Hopefully, this passage is intriguing enough to make the reader want more, more conflict, more emotions, and more reasons to read the next page, then the next.
Thanks for sharing your time with me. Wareeze Woodson
link to Amazon for A Lady’s Vanishing Choices: