Monday, March 10, 2008

Hooked with a Sad Surprise

By Christine Thackeray

OK, so I have to tell you a sad story and I'd like to begin with a disclaimer that my experience was totally subjective and probably shouldn't even be repeated. This weekend I went to Deseret Book to get Marcia's and Rebecca Talley's books. I couldn't find Rebecca's but picked up Marcia's and then wandered through the aisles looking for something compelling. I decided to judge my books based on the first page. If it hooked me, I'd buy it.

After perusing through the entire new arrival shelf I had three or four maybe's but wasn't really sold on any one of them and went to the clearance table. Yuck, there was nothing there, so I turned and found a table of fresh authors I didn't recognize. Reading through these books, two had me begging to gobble them down. I brought them home and devoured both until 4am (with daylight savings time it was a really stupid thing to do, but there you are.) The sad part is when I realized that neither book was written by an LDS author.

I'm sure that many of the books I thought about purchasing were very good and content-wise they might have been superior but as authors, it is imperative that we sharpen our hooks until they shine. In Marcia's book she does that, with her main character suddenly waking in fear. That initail emotional connection is imperative.

With my first book, I didn't even think about it. I had this incredible, compelling story to tell and just dove straight in. But for my next book I'm doing the same thing, diving right in and telling my story, but then I'll go back when I'm done and find an incredible hook that rivets readers to the heart of my book in a paragraph or two-- or at least make the attempt.


Marcia Mickelson said...

Thanks, Chrsitine, for buying my book. I hope you enjoy it and I'm pleased that I passed your "hook" test.

I don't think I realized until recently how important 'hooking' the reader can be.

Tamster said...

You've just added to my desire to get Marcia's book. I bought her first one, but admittedly I have not yet read it; I had a baby and we moved right after I bought it, and now I can't find it! It is somewhere around, and when I find it I'll read it. I got a copy for my mom, and she read it and liked it, though.

I have read some books that started off slow or hard to get into, but once I got into them, they were really good books. So you are right that the beginning doesn't mean they are for sure good or not (can't judge a book by its cover, so they say), but it certainly helps a reader get into it if the beginning "hooks" the reader. :-)

Terri Ferran said...

Excellent advice about the importance of hooks, Christine. It's a point well taken! Like you, I just dove into my first book, and as I'm working on the second one, I realize the more I learn, the less I know!

Terri Ferran said...
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