Friday, September 30, 2011 | By: Angela Brown

Hooked on Hooks by Zook Book Nook

Now I dare you to say that 5 times.  I couldn't manage two times before getting a case of the twisty tongue followed by a fit of giggles at myself.

But more seriously, this is a little blog hop baby courtesy of the ever-wonderful K at Zook Book Nook.  Click here to participate.  And here are the details:

Writers Link Up Your Hooks and Start Commenting!

Post a link to your blog through the Hooked on Hooks linky that is available at the end of this post. To do so, just add type the name of your blog and the URL for the specific post in the box below!

The only requirement is to stop by at least three other campaigners blogs to give them comments about their hooks. The WIP may be any piece of writing (short story, essay, fiction, children's book, MG, YA, chic lit, fantasy, article, poetry, blog post, etc) that you are currently working on. The first few sentences (your hook) may be for the beginning of your WIP, the beginning of a prologue or chapter or sequel. If you write poetry, it may be the first few stanzas. You may share one or two hooks on your blog, because you're more likely to get feedback on one or two rather than several.

This event is made possible through Rach Writes Third Writers' Platform-Building Campaign!!

Here's my Hook for my work in progress, EVERVEIL, a YA Paranormal


I didn’t know how to play well with others-- still don’t, honestly-- but Vivvie seemed happy with me, just as I was.  She left me at summer’s end, bright pink hair draped over my arm as I held her close.   She whispered a strained goodbye with her last breath.  As her chest fell for the last time, I finally told her that I didn’t want to be her best “guy” friend anymore, that I loved her.  Like the emergency crews that arrived five minutes later, I was too late.  That made losing her even worse.  But we’re both just sixteen…and she wasn’t supposed to die.


Anonymous said...

I just joined. Gotta have that hook to engage the readers and keep them turning the pages.

K said...

Oh I am going to be thinking about this ALL day long! I LOVE how you started it by talking about playing well, because it is all I could think about as I read the next few sentences, wondering what happened to make Vivvie die. My only question is if she would say "goodbye" as her final words? If it was a sudden death, with emergency crews needed, do you think she would be too shocked to say goodbye? Or maybe that is why this hook has me so intrigued. Maybe she new the narrator didn't play nice and was prepared to die in some way? See!!! Very fascinating! I love it!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

OMG! This is great! You've got me dying to read the story! The only thing I wonder is about her saying goodbye. Of course, I don't know what happened to her, but I would think most 16 year olds wouldn't be ready to accept death so easily and would be more likely to say something about how they were feeling or don't worry, or help, or what's happening.... Goodbye seems like she knew it was going to happen or has no desire to fight it - either of which is intriguing... But anyway, that's the only thing I'm not sure of.

Matthew MacNish said...

This is a bit longer than most hooks I see, but I like it!

Angela Brown said...

@ Stephen - Exactly. I find the stories that have a great hook grip me and make it hard to just put the book down.

@ K and Susanna - Thankfully, that "goodbye" can be removed, changed manipulated or used for a character trait later. I'm glad you both mention it. When two or more notice something, that's definitely a good sign to take a look at it.

@ Matthew - It's a bit lengthy, I agree. But I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Sangu said...

Aww that was sad. Great hook, though!

Anonymous said...

This hook is good. I like the voice of the character and I want to find out where he's taking this story, and what happened in the past.

I have a few suggestions:

I'm not sure that opening with a teenage death is a good hook or not. It feels sort of cliche-ish. However, I don't write YA, or read very much of it, so I'm not sure. You might check with agents who rep YA and blog about what they like to see.

I didn’t know how to play well with others-- still don’t, honestly-- but Vivvie seemed happy with me, just as I was.

This is a great opening line, but I the last part confused me a little. Silly me - I thought he was saying that he was happy with himself, too. But no, that's not it. Perhaps you can say, "Vivvie seemed to like me just as I was." I think that's what you're saying here.

But we’re both just sixteen…and she wasn’t supposed to die.

There's a bit of time shift here. The rest of the paragraph is in the past tense - he's telling us what "happened." But saying "we're just sixteen..." makes it sound as if it's present tense. So, "we were just sixteen..." sounds more consistent.

Also, I'd delete "both." It's understood that "both of them" were sixteen.

Hope this helps. Oh, for what it's worth, I agree about the "good-bye." It's better without it. Your hook has a lot of promise. Good luck!

K.T. Hanna said...

I like the hook. It definitely makes me want to know more. Like the person above me I think it could do with some tweaking, but overall, I'd be intrigued enough by this to download that first chapter and likely buy the book :D

I wanted to really thank you for your comment on my blog earlier today.

Also, I'm not quite familiar with blog hops? I'm very new to writer-blogosphere and still get confused. I tried to clear up said confusion by going to the site you linked. Now I'm more so :(

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That was good - and unexpected! Don't think I could add anything more that hasn't already been said.

Jennie said...

Loved that and it definitely got me wanting to read more! I did have to re-read it a couple times to put it all together in my head, so maybe, like the previous comments said, it could use a tad of tweaking, but overall, it was great. Great voice.

Angela Brown said...

@ Sangu - Thanks so much for checking it out.

@ marlenedotterer - This is why I LOVE putting my stuff out for people to see. The suggestions you made really excited me about this project and I appreciate it so much. Thank you!

@ K.T. - You are more than welcome regarding my comment on your blog. Just speaking the truth. And as you can see here, being brave enough to take a chance and share got me some great suggestions, supportive feedback and ideas to tweak and improve my hook.

@ Alex - Thanks for reading it and for your feedback. That's the only way to make something to know it needs to and can be better :-)

@ Jennie - With the suggestions given thus far, I think I've got some great direction on how to improve this hook. Thank you so much for stopping by.

1000th.monkey said...

Oh! very interesting! ...since it looks like you've got lots of comments to read through/consider, I eagerly await reading the updated version :)

Maria Zannini said...

You know me, I've got to analyze every word. :)

I was confused by the first line because at first I thought you were talking about children, not teenagers. It also takes up valuable space for information the reader needs to know to get into the story.

You might consider starting more immediately.

Vivvie left me at summer's end.

This creates an immediate question. Why did Vivvie die? How does this change or compel the narrator?

We get a definite sense of loss, but not the kick-in-the-gut catalyst that delivers us into the actual story.

I see the opening paragraph in three beats.

1. Loss of Vivvie
2. Regret that compels the narrator to do something that changes the course of his life.
3. Conflict. What's in the narrator's way?

The second paragraph can go back and mourn Vivvie.

(I'm still under medication, so anything I say isn't binding in a court of law.) :grin: Hope it helps.

Angela Brown said...

@ 1000th.monkey - You know, I wasn't sure if anyone would want to read the updated hook once I revised it but...I think I will put it out again. The comments have been helpful and supportive. At the very least, I feel comfortable with the idea that it causes interest in readers. Just got to clear up any confusion as best I can.

@ Maria - I am in critique envy :-) Even under medication you provide insight, depth and direction. Ugh! How are you possibly this awesome? :-)

Anonymous said...

Angela, you've placed me into your character's head straight away and I think that's really great. I've found some details confusing and some sentences irrevelant but overall I'm hooked, I'd read more.
The details:
I think your first sentence is not strong enough, and is a bit confusing because it's too youngish for a 16-year-old - but I loved the 2nd and it'd make a great opening maybe. Again, as mentioned before, the third is a bit out of place, maybe you could leave that out too?
I loved this one, I think it're really-really strong: "Like the emergency crews that arrived five minutes later, I was too late." I didn't really like the following sentence, it's too general, moves the point of view a but further away I think. As it was pointed out already, the tense changed in the last sentence, but I'm sure you can correct it easily.
If I can add: I admire how you reflected on the opinions above. I think it makes you a strong writer, you're willing to listen. :) I'm not sure I'm exactly there yet haha
- andrea

Angela Brown said...

@ ASM (andrea) - I've gained some excellent knowledge from listening to those offering constrictive criticism. I used to be a part of a face-to-face crit group where one of the rules was that you had to listen and let each person offer their feedback. The first time I did it was hard. I wanted to explain everything. But that is also when I learned I won't be by each reader's side to "explain" things to them. So that helped me with listening and learning from the help being offered. It wasn't an overnight thing to accept, but I got it. I miss it now that I don't have that group anymore.

Talli Roland said...

What a great idea for a blog hop!

And wow, what a vignette you've written. The ending, the ending...

Gail Shepherd said...

Absolutely smashing! You've got a great voice and two characters I am already very interested in--not to mention the inherent drama of a dying beloved! I would totally read on.

Angela Brown said...

@ Talli - I agree wholeheartedly. I was so nervous to post this hook but since I'm serious about publishing, it's great to have this chance to put my hook out for feedback and advice.

@ Gail - Thank you so much. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning for poor Luca. Since it is a WiP, I have a few more things yet in store for him.

ali cross said...

Fun blog hop!

And holy WOW. That is one awesome hook. I would abso-freakin-lutely read more.

Angela Brown said...

@ ali - I was very excited about this blog hop and feel fortunate to have some great responses and insightful critiques on how to improve it.

Shelley Munro said...

What a fun idea. I wish I had time to play.

I think Maria hit the nail on the head with her comments. The very start is a little confusing and could perhaps do with some rewriting.

Angela Brown said...

@ Shelley - Thanks for checking out my hook. The insight offered is so invaluable. I look forward to revising this, preferably to get that confusion gone and grip the reader from word one.

Phil said...

What a great hook! I hope to read more. Good job, and I admire your...GUMPTION :)

Angela Brown said...

Thanks Phil. I'm letting some of the awesomeness of the suggestions and insight sink in - gotta love having many other sets of eyes to catch what you may miss - and will soon give this another whirl.