Hook’em Early


Hook’em Early

Rory C. Keel

Here is a good example of the opening hook from Elmore Leonard’s The Tonto Woman.

The time would come, within a few years, when Ruben Vega would go to the church in Benson, kneel in the confessional, and say to the priest, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.”

With the first sentence, the writer creates interest with a scenario of a future event, What is the character Ruben Vega going to do?

the reader is HOOKED to continue reading in order to find out.

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Start with a Hook


 

Start with a Hook

Rory C. Keel

All of the exciting details, ports of call and the swashbuckling adventure of your story will mean nothing if the reader isn’t interested. To bring your reader along, you need to pique their interest, start with a hook.

Why would I go down this road?

Give me a reason to cross that line.

An image of a road to the horizon with text start

 

Narrative Fishing


Narrative Fishing 

Rory C. Keel

 

Yes, we are writing about story hooks this month at Wordsmith Six. We are learning how to keep our readers turning the page. So, we start with an action that pulls the reader further into the story. Anything that causes curiosity and interest from your reader is a narrative hook. It should cause a sensation in the reader to keep reading and turn the next page without stopping.

Book Review: SAWBONES – Melissa Lenhardt


SAWBONES – Melissa Lenhardt

Book Review by Rory C. Keel

Set in the post-civil war 1800s, the main character Cathrine Bennett starts her journey in New York City. Being a female and desiring to practice as a doctor, she is hindered by societal norms of the day. Falsely accused of murder by the wife of a male patient, she sails to Galveston, Texas and begins her dangerous and thrilling escape to the West.

On her trek to start a new life, she faces the loss of loved ones and her own possessions forcing her to survive. Suffering through severe storms and  Indian attacks, we see her tenacity to live and save others.

“I needed to concentrate, to push my personal tragedy and guilt to the back of my mind and focus on Captain Kindle’s wound.”

As a male reader of the Historical Western genre, I really liked this book. I picked this book up on a whim at the bookstore and ended up reading all three in the trilogy.  While characterized by some as a feminist western, I found it to be a thrilling western and offered insight into the female viewpoint of the hardships endured in the historical West.

A snapshot in a time of your life


A snapshot in a time of your life

Rory C. Keel

To find a story idea, think of a snapshot of time in your own life. 

No, I’m not talking about writing a memoir piece, but using something we all have — a snapshot in time. 

We all have those brief moments in life when we see something out of the ordinary, an event, or an interaction between people or things that make us pause for a brief second. Those snapshots of time are story ideas.

Perhaps you heard someone’s voice and wondered who they were speaking to and what did they mean. A story Idea!

Think back in your mind to the last time something caught you off guard, and you thought, I wonder what that was about?

Now make up a story!

Active Writing cultivates new Material.


Active Writing cultivates new Material.

 Rory C. Keel

 

As a writer do you struggle to find new material to write?

For me, ideas often come to mind when I am actively writing as if one idea sprouts from another. As my story moves along, writing one sentence after the next, a scene will unfold unlocking a previous thought. Occasionally a secret door in that scene will open showing me an object or a thought that feels out of place and doesn’t fit. These are what I call my story seeds, seeds for another project.

 Story Seeds                                                           

Story seeds are small bits of information that emerge in your thoughts. They can be simple objects like a single red sock hung on a clothesline: why is it blowing in the wind as if forgotten, or was it intentional and a signal for someone? Maybe an animal such as a small brown dog runs through your thoughts while you write. Why is he alone? Does he have a master? These story seeds may be a specific place you’ve never been before or a mysterious person that suddenly emerges in your mind and then vanishes. When these items appear, I quickly record them to use in a future piece.

 Make a List

Make a list in a small pocket notebook or journal of story seeds when they happen. When you struggle to find something to write, use the list to spark a story. Ask when, where, who, what and how about each item on the list to generate the next story.

Make your list!

Rory C. Keel