Writing Quote – Samuel Johnson

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Writing Quote – E. L. Doctorow


 

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”

                                                        – E. L. Doctorow

SUNDAY SAMPLE -KEEP ‘EM FULL AND KEEP ‘EM ROLLIN’


SUNDAY SAMPLE

KEEP ‘EM FULL AND KEEP ‘EM ROLLIN’

 

With a blend of photography, ranching heritage, and real cowboy food, I pitched my brilliant idea for a book to an editor at the Western Writers of America Conference several years ago. She told me the book would never sell because bookstores could not determine where to shelve it. Coffeetable book? I’m not a professional photographer. Cookbook? It has nonfiction text about cowboy work and cattle ranching. The Texas special interest section? Except for the recipes and food pictures.

I thanked her for her time and as I stood to leave, she asked if I might be interested in writing a book about chuck wagons. It so happened that I had toured the ranch headquarters of the man who invented the chuck wagon, Charles Goodnight. It was only an hour from my home. So yes, I would be glad to do more research and send her a proposal.

Here’s the thing Wordsmith Six friends, sometimes NO isn’t exactly a NO. I could have rejected her twist on my idea and self-published my vision. But she was right, it would have never made it into bookstores. It had no specific theme. Sometimes you need to think outside of your vision and allow your ideas to morph into a thing that might be totally different. Be open to new ideas. Consider opportunities that might challenge your talents. Long story short, after a year of research, I give you the end results, which is up for pre-order now!

KEEP ‘EM FULL AND KEEP ‘EM ROLLIN’; The All-American Chuck Wagon Cookbook.

It has history, it has recipes and I got to use my ranch photographs. All the things I had envisioned except ten times better and guided by a savvy editor who wasn’t afraid to give me an honest opinion. Keep writing and keep believing in yourself. The opportunities are out there.

CHAPTER HOOKS


CHAPTER HOOKS

Natalie Bright

Have you ever read a book with the intention of putting it down at the end of the chapter, only to realize you’re 5 chapters in? The chapter ending hook is where you end your scene and entice readers to turn the page as defined in Rory’s blog post here https://wordsmithsix.com/2020/02/05/narrative-fishing/

Here are a few chapter ending hook examples from the book I’m reading now, THE SEARCH by Nora Roberts. Genre: romance.

  1. She pushed herself up, shut down the laptop. 

“I’m going to take that long bath, drink that stupid tea. And you know what? We’re going to book that damn villa. Life’s too damn short.”

  1. “I’m a fan of cold pizza.”

“I’ve never understood people who aren’t.” She rose, held out a hand for his.

  1. She walked out with them, stood with her arms folded over her chest against her thudding heart and the dogs sitting at her feet as they drove away. “Good luck,” she murmured.

Then she went inside to get her gun.

  1. Mai glanced at the doorway, lowered her voice. “I told the concierge not to leave a paper at our door in the morning. Just in case.”

“Good thinking.”

They heard the pop of a cork and Fiona’s shouted, “Woo-hoo.”

“Put it out of your mind,” Sylvia murmured. “So we can keep it out of hers.”

  1. And when he fell, he fell into her eyes.

Homework

Your homework is to choose several books by your favorite authors, preferably in the same genre of your WIP, and with pen and paper, write every last sentence or two of every chapter ending. No typing or reading, only handwriting. 

You will be amazed at how your brain will click on where to end chapters and how to leave an enticing hook for your readers.

Happy Writing!

Natalie Bright is the author of the upcoming KEEP ‘EM FULL AND KEEP ‘EM ROLLIN’: The All-American Chuck Wagon Cookbook, soon to be released September 1, 2020. She is also the author of the Trouble in Texas Series, adventure stories for middle grade. 

 

HOOKING READERS: READERS WHO RELATE TO CHARACTERS


HOOKING READERS: READERS WHO RELATE TO CHARACTERS

Natalie Bright

We are blogging about hooks all month, and I’m veering from the topic of chapter endings to creating interesting characters that Hook your reader and makes them sympathetic to your character and engaged in your story.

In his book TELLING LIES FOR FUN AND PROFIT, Lawrence Block talks about unique ways to hold a reader’s interest and make them experience the story along with the character. As a brilliant example and food for thought, there are exceptions to every rule as in the case of Sherlock Holmes stories. Mr. Block explains:

“The obvious functions of a Watson include keeping the reader in the picture while hiding certain things from him; he knows only what the Watson knows, not what the Great Detective is thinking or observing. Additionally, the Watson character can marvel at the brilliance and eccentricity of the Great Detective, who would appear egomaniacal were he to mutter such self-aggrandizement directly into our ears.

But I think another important advantage of the Watson device is the distance it creates, distance from the Great Detective but not from the story. That character, with his quirks and idiosyncrasies, is more commanding if we are made to stand a bit apart from him. Let us peer over his shoulder and we can see his feet of clay.” (Block.174)

Hope your 2020 be a productive one!

Natalie Bright is the author of the upcoming KEEP ‘EM FULL AND KEEP ‘EM ROLLIN’: The All-American Chuck Wagon Cookbook, soon to be released September 1, 2020. She is also the author of the Trouble in Texas Series, adventure stories for middle grade. 

HOOKING READERS


HOOKING READERS

Natalie Bright

The best way to hook a reader is to create memorable characters that are real, not cardboard. Make your main character (MC) have flaws, which can be physical, internal issues like guilt, hate, shame. This makes characters relatable and unforgettable.

Provide readers with insight into your MC head. It’s not safe with this character, you can never tell what they might do. Hook them with the unexpected and give your characters a secret.

Hook readers with a setting, fantasy or unusual place. Let your setting be a character in itself by providing imagery. Paint a word picture.

Struggles hook the reader, never let your main character have what she wants. Throw every obstacle you can at them and end your chapter with an emotional punch.

Example Ending Chapter Hook: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (By J. K. Rowling) from Chapter 3:

One minute to go and he’d be eleven. Thirty seconds…twenty…ten…nine—maybe he’d wake Dudley up, just to annoy him—three…two…one…

BOOM!

The whole shack shivered, and Harry say bolt upright, staring at the door. Someone was outside, knocking to come in.”

There is no human alive that can resist turning that page and reading the next chapter.

Hope your 2020 be a productive one!

Natalie Bright is the author of the upcoming KEEP ‘EM FULL AND KEEP ‘EM ROLLIN’: The All-American Chuck Wagon Cookbook, soon to be released September 1, 2020. She is also the author of the Trouble in Texas Series, adventure stories for middle grade.