Tag Archives: Hook

The 5 page challenge

Gingerbread ManPhil: I don’t quite know how it happened, but out of our post-festival discussions, we decided that The Book needed more than just a good “hook” at the start. What it needs is a whole chapter to grab the reader by the (metaphorical) balls. Autumn Barlow suggested many months ago that we ought to try a prologue and that sounds as good a way of doing the job as any.

So, because Nolan is on holiday (Again. Yes, I have been left to look after the writing shop while she swans off to sunny parts. Do I complain, of course not. I mean it’s not like I can’t remember the last time I took a proper break. Well, it is but I don’t worry, hard work brings its own rewards. I will take a bit of pleasure from making sure the country is still running while she tops up the tan and drinks strange, exotic cocktails by the pool. I digress) which leaves me with a week to try to come up with something. It’s not like I have to go to work or anything…

My mission, is to write 5 pages that could be described as “kick-ass”.

They need to throw the reader into the middle of one of our more uproarious passages but in a way that allows us to return to the scene later on without anyone experiencing a great big unpleasent dollop of deja-vu. As well as this, I have to introduce some mystery by dangling snippets of plot that will be resolved toward the end of the book but without giving any important details away. No pressure then.

I can’t even remember how we decided that this ought to be 5 pages long. Perhaps someone mentioned it at the event, but it does seem a reasonable length. If you can get the reader to page 5 with a suitably sore bottom then they will presumably stick with the rest of the book to find our what the hell you were going on about.

All this is like being back as school – teacher will summon me to her desk, and I will be expected to present my homework for approval. After I say “What a lovely tan you are sporting” at least, or no gold star for me.

 

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Too real ?

Candice: Its funny this writing in pairs malarkey. Some times the same idea floats in two brains at the same time without actual conversation between the two.
Phil and I have been playing with ideas for putting that famous hook into the story. As he mentions, he’s been playing with the timeline in one way – I’ve got an idea for another route. However the PC died over Christmas and I can only write on my iPad, which can’t cope with 200page word documents. So my idea for the hook stays sitting in my head until I can get a new PC.
However, I had also been thinking about timelines and structure as a whole. And then I see Phil’s post… Hum two minds one common thread. I suppose our regular meetings at the airfield have put us on a similar track.
Our book, or in fact our series of books (we have ideas for seven at the moment) are based around a fictional company that goes in and closes companies down. The office experiences we describe in the book at based on true life, just expanded to create some comedy.
However , with the same thoughts at the hook question, I’ve been thinking about the situations and descriptions around the office in the book and have decided that they are probably abit too linear and true as well. Like Phil said, we know what’s going to happen and we have plotted it all out, but have we actually over plotted and described every situation as it would be in real life, rather than how it would work in a book. Plots move quickly and make assumptions about the reader’s knowledge to move forward, they don’t outline everything line by line.
So there might be a cull going forward, pc permitting, not just rejigging the order to give us our hook, but actually cut some content too. It might take us under 80,000 words, but as long as they are the right words, the exact number shouldn’t matter !

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