Monday, May 30, 2011

Hooks - writing tip

Question: Someone in my group said I need more "hooks." Come on, I write literary fiction. I don't need to do hooks -- they are for people who write mystery and romance....

Answer: A hook should raise a question in the mind of the reader that will be answered before the story is over. Hooks make readers want to read on. They heighten reader interest, pure and simple.

There are teachers who will tell you that hooks are the stuff of pulp fiction and are beneath writers of literary fiction. I disagree with that.

We just talked about this not too long ago, but it is a perennial question.

In good literary fiction, the hooks are there, but they're much more subtle. I firmly believe the difference between "page-turner commercial fiction" and " beautiful gripping literary prose," lies only in the subtlety of the hooks.

For example: Dick Francis, a modern mystery writer.

"I inherited my brother's life and it almost killed me."

Charles Dickens

"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."

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