A few years ago I wouldn't have paid any attention to a website about story structure. I'm an organic, trial by error kind of writer. Why else did it take me decades to get published? Trial by error, baby! Yes, and that wastes a LOT of time.
So when my friend M. Gray tossed out her challenge to follow the 10 steps of story structure, I decided to apply it to my current WIP. The timing was perfect. I had the bones of my novel written, why not analyze its structure based on the concepts of Larry Brooks at storyfix.com?
First thing is the hook. Larry Brooks (along with Sol Stein's On Writing) emphasizes the necessity of writing the hook early. Brooks suggests the first 20 pages. Stein says the first paragraph. I tend to agree with Sol Stein on this one. Better to get it in early, before the potential buyer gets bored in 5 seconds of reading and puts down the book. Or manuscript (if your desired reader is an agent or editor.)
The hook isn't what the book is about, it's not the plot or the pitch, it's what engages the reader right off. According to Larry Brooks: "It gets our attention early. It tickles us. Intrigues us. "
In my WIP, here's my opening paragraph, my hook:
There was something wrong with Cindy’s baby. At four months, Jakob couldn’t lift his head or focus his eyes. Still, babies develop at different rates. Why should Marcie say anything to needlessly upset her sister?
What do you think? Are you intrigued? Do you want to keep reading? If so, then I've got my hook. If not, I go back to the drawing board. And if any of you want to throw your hooks out for us to look at, please do! Or possibly you have an opening paragraph that you're not sure is a hook or not. Here's your invitation to lay it out for feedback--honest but respectful, of course.
After the hook, comes the "set-up." Next post I'll discuss that.
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown
"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it." ~Jesse Stuart
"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf