Top 5 Hooks

Way back in 2008, my friend Megan agreed to read through an early version of VERVE STONES. Her being an avid reader, and an English language arts teacher, made her a perfect first editor. She singlehandedly helped me slog through my rookie writing woes. Her feedback aided my skills in character development, flashbacks, and my all-time nemesis the comma. Her comments allowed me to create a much improved story.

Megan’s revision I struggled with most of all needing a hook. A narrative hook is the opening of a story that “hooks” or grabs the reader’s attention so that he or she will keep reading. (Sorry, can’t hold back my teacher mode.) I remember reading the first page in every book I ever read on Amazon.com. Or wanted to read. My research eventually led me to create, “The man had no face,” as my first line in VERVE STONES.

These are my top five favorite hooks I discovered. Today, I use four of these as examples when I teach narrative writing to my third grade class. May these hooks encourage your own writing as much as they did mine!

Savvy by Ingrid Law

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 8.10.41 PM

The fact that I needed to reread the first sentence to fully grasp why her family needed to move inland makes this an unforgettable hook.

 

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 8.13.54 PM

This is an outstanding hook because of its use of reverse psychology.

 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 8.23.49 PM

This fearful hook is intensified with an ominous picture.

 

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 8.08.26 PMScreen Shot 2018-02-07 at 8.08.46 PM

After reading the first two pages, I was so hooked I immediately bought a copy of this book.

 

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 8.02.11 PM

Stating the simple fact of going to the grocery store and with the, “Wait, what?” moment makes this hook perfect.

 

Advertisements

Anyone Else Feel This Way?

No matter how many times I send them to Dustin, Dawn, Taylor, or Robin. No matter if it’s a first or final draft. I always think my latest draft is perfect. This draft is a best seller. I justify my overactive pride with the fact I’ve been writing for a hobby since 2006. My skills have improved immensely. I’ve finally figured out this writing thing. Then a friend returns the draft with more red text than black.

I crash back to earth a few days later. I read their comments first. Try to take in everything without getting upset. Some feedback is in areas I knew needed to be fixed. Most are changes I never noticed. Ones that totally enhance the story. Or edits which keep me from writing like one of my third graders.

What I’m trying to say is thank you to my friends who edit my drafts. Without you, VERVE STONES, NINTH NIGHT, UNDER, and BACK OF BEYOND would never exist!

Venting

Plugging away on BACK OF BEYOND. To be honest, I’m feeling frustrated. It’s been almost three years since I self-published VERVE STONES. I wrote over half of BACK OF BEYOND years before that date. I desperately want to finish. My students, friends, and family keep asking me if I’m finished yet. I can see the end of the draft even if not far, far off.

Self-publishing takes me a very long time. Especially because my AMAZING FRIENDS have to take time out their own busy lives to edit my work. My manuscripts always require a great of improvements. Staring at the incredible cover by Jake doesn’t help either.

I daydream about being an author full time. Writing for hours each day instead of minutes. Having editors to burden with my drafts instead of friends. Being able to finish several other picture books, stories, and series I started and never have time to write. My job, friends, family, and God come before writing. I will keep praying this can be my job instead.

Time to get back to work.

 

Priceless

A few of my third graders are reading VERVE STONES. They’re asking questions, updating me on what they’re reading, and the ones that finished want to know when THE LEGEND OF SPOON – BOOK 2 is available. My students’ love for Altrea, verses stones, and the characters are without a doubt my favorite part of being an author. I might not sell many books, but these interactions are priceless.

Here’s to putting in some hours on BACK OF BEYOND over the holiday weekend!

VERVE STONES

Excited to see someone read VERVE STONES on Kindle Unlimited! I’m working to finish BACK OF BEYOND (THE LEGEND OF SPOON – BOOK 2). My family recently moved to Olympia and are staying with friends while we search for a house in the same neighborhood. I haven’t found much time to write with the move, starting my 13th year of teaching, and my daughter in kindergarten. The new reader and unbelievable cover for VERVE STONES mostly done from Jake at J Caleb Design are a huge motivations for me to get my nose to the grindstone.

VERVE STONE Flashback

Fun to remember this comment left on my blog almost two years ago!!! This comment alone has allowed me to stay motivated on finishing THE LEGEND OF SPOON, BOOK 2: BACK OF BEYOND! From Brady on May 30, 2015.

I love this book so much and couldn’t stop reading. My parents had to hide my kindle in order to make me stop reading. Whens the second book coming?
I’m currently finished with my BACK OF BEYOND first draft and am having my friend Robin nearing the end of reading it through. I still need to have two or three more friends edit it, but getting the draft done was a big step forward.

Verve Stones

VERVE STONES is a year old today on Amazon!!! It might not be the next Lord of the Rings, but getting 56 ratings on goodreads, 25 customer reviews on Amazon, and having the Kindle Edition of VERVE STONES reach as high as #2,280 on the Amazon Best Sellers Rank blew away my own expectations! Thanks to all my friends, family, and readers to allow this dream of mine to be possible! Praying the next book in the series (BACK OF BEYOND) is even more successful!