Wednesday, 17 June 2009

How NOT to write a hook

  1. Think of a catchy hook and then impose characteristics on your H&h to make them fit in with your hook.
  2. When you encounter inconsistencies in your characters' behaviour don't go back to the beginning and question your premise, simply come up with more backstory to force the fit, like a large foot into a small shoe (or should that be strappy sandal???)
  3. Once you've stuffed that foot in, ignore any niggles in the back of your mind and reassure yourself with the fact the strappy sandal does look quite pretty.
  4. On no account try to get a crit from a writer you really admire, like the fabulous Heidi Rice say, if you're not prepared to let go of that strappy sandal and put the work in to find a shoe that fits.
Well I did points 1-3 but thankfully was the successful bidder for a critique in the Brenda Novak auction and have now had all those niggles brought skillfully to the surface. Not only that but I can see how I can address them. 
The one thing I've most definitely learnt is DON'T IGNORE YOUR NIGGLES. Question why, why, why and don't be afraid to change your premise if it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Other than that I don't have any wise advise about how to use a hook. Other than maybe try to address your niggles before you send your synopsis and first chapter to an editor. Ahem.
Still it shows I'm able to revise, right?


9 comments:

Romy said...

Great post. And some of the things you say really rang a bell with me. Some great advice!

Jackie Ashenden said...

Lorraine, you put that beautifully! My poor old book. Definitely it was trying to be Cinderella and ended up only being the ugly sister. ;-)

Lorraine said...

Thanks Romy. I seem to learn more from making mistakes than anything else!

Aw Jackie, it wasn't the ugly sister - I'm sure one day EM will get its HEA :-) Trying to get your fairy godmother on her mobile but she seems to be permanently engaged. I'm sure there's another ball coming up soon for you to go to (wearing a different pair of shoes:-)...

Lacey Devlin said...

Oh no! I have the niggles! I've kind of being ignoring the niggles a bit! AHHHH :)

Heidi said...

See Lorraine, now I'm thinking what happens if the M&B ed takes a look at your synopsis and says it's terrific. I'm going to look like a right plonker!!

If it makes you feel better, I sent my latest partial off to my ed and she said my hero was a bit 'underhanded and calculating'. Oops! so there you go, we all have our niggles to bear...

And I can't wait to read your full ms (how's that for pressure??)

Lorraine said...

Lacey, sorry, didn't mean to freak you out. I think I mean don't be afraid to look at the niggles - if they're invalid then tell them to shut up :-)

Heidi - I'd say the odds of you looking like a plonker are miniscule! I'm happy that the changes I want to make will make the story stronger and more believable. Thanks again for your input, I'd better get writing!

Suzanne said...

I could write a book about the niggles I have with my MS, but that's another story.

Great advice here, Lorraine.
x

Joanne Cleary said...

Great post. I had niggles on my last ms and have now totally changed the heroine's motivation. And well, her whole character actually:-) but hopefully it will make a better story. If I ever finish it!

I am going to search out WHSmith and complain. like a saddo I went to buy my 4 books last night expecting a pretty bag to take them home in. The shop knew nothing. That's what I get for living in this backwater!! On a plus side, I did get 5 M&B for the price of 4. I needed research for the new competition :-)

Lucy King said...

Oh yes, don't ignore the niggles. I've been doing exactly that for about 3 months, which is just madness. When I finally gave in and told my ed that I was basically rewriting the whole story, she said that going with your gut instinct is the thing.