“Excuse Me, Your Hair Is On Fire!” (And 3 Other Things You Should Always Be Thinking About When Writing)
Thank you to D.C. McGannon for sharing this awesome post also found on his blog!
Here are three things you should always keep in mind while you are writing.
And, oh by the way…
Your hair is on fire!
1. The Hook.
In the first chapter of every book, there should be a hook. Something that grabs you. Rips you into the world of the pages and doesn’t let go. It can be a quote, a newspaper headline, an action, a statistic, a question. It can be embedded in dialogue or a stand all by itself.
It gives insight into the unfolding conflict. It may be the conflict itself.
It’s what makes you want to read on. It’s the attention-grabber. It leads to the next chapter or scene (especially if you end your chapters with hooks).
It’s what makes you want to listen to your favorite song over and over again. (Don’t you want your readers to read your books over and over again too?)
*Speaking of favorite songs. Let’s break for a fun activity… See if you can recognize these famous song hooks and their artists (answers below):
“Hook me baby one more time!”
“Hook it, just hook it. Hook it, just hook it. Ow!”
“I still haven’t hooked what I’m looking for…”
“Purple hook, purple hook!”
“The hooks, they are a changin’.”
“Shake, rattle, and hook.”
“I’m comfortably hooked.”
“I hooked it through the grapevine!”
I was going to use Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” for this activity, but it just didn’t seem appropriate. Agree?
*OK, Back to our program…
Any book worth its salt employs the hook.
I’m not going to teach you how to write a hook in this post (that will be a post all by itself), but you MUST always be thinking about your hook when writing.
Oh, and do you smell that?! It smells like…
It smells like conflict!
Who wants to read about the guy who has everything going his way all the time, and lives happily ever after. BLAH!!!
Boring. Forget it!
We want conflict, writer. The juice. The fire. The stuff of legend. The stuff that brings the legend to her knees!
Conflict is pain, discomfort, struggle. It’s what your characters must go through, and in the beginning of a book it’s usually pretty bumpy. Bumpy is good. Bumpy is real!
Nobody navigates conflict easily. Nobody! I don’t care if the duck looks like its gliding across the water effortlessly. What you don’t see is that under the water, those little webbed feet are fighting the water at a hundred-miles-an-hour!
Show your readers what is happening under the water!
Conflict sets the story in motion. Whether it’s internal conflict (struggles with morality, desire, belief and so on) or external conflict (man vs. man, nature, society, destiny, etc.), conflict reigns!
We relate to conflict. It’s real. We experience conflict, both good and bad, and so it’s believable. We want to discover how this character is going to respond or react to the conflict, so we tune in.
I believe every strong character suffers the weight of both internal and external conflict. This layered complexity draws us in closely and whispers to our soul.
When you are writing, remember, your hair is on fire! Bring on the conflict!!
3. The Tension (Emotion).
Conflict creates tension.
If conflict raises the question, tension keeps us wondering what the answer is.
Tension (emotion) keeps us engaged until resolution. Just like our characters, we will experience the emotion as well.
Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me angry. Make me pump my fist. Make me scream. Make me say, “I TOLD you that was going to happen!”
Whether positive or negative, human emotion drives a story. Your readership is addicted to it. And like the hook and the conflict, tension needs to rise from the beginning. Keep your finger on that pulse and keep it tight until you are ready to release it in your resolution.
So, excuse me, your hair is on fire…
Will the fire consume you? Will the fire go out? Do you even feel the heat yet? Is that person standing next to you going to catch fire?
As for writing, I hope your fire burns brightly and keeps getting hotter!
Yipee! This site does not link as nicely as the others. It is a two-step process. Log in here Blio.com is the commercial arm of Baker & Taylor.
Then type in Lauren Klever
or Visions, The Secret Watchers
or ISBN 9781623099596
or a variation/ combination there of! Thanks!!!
Yay! At last!!! Visions is available from Sony’s Reader Store!!!
Big HUGE hugs to all my wonderful fans, followers and supporters. You guys are the best! Thank you so very much for all you have done to get me and this series to where it is. I am touched by … Continue reading
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Author Interview – Lauren Klever Posted on 29 November, 2012 by Paul Western-Pittard That Thing I Said On books, ideas, short stories. http://cerullean.net/author-interview-lauren-klever/
In part 1 of my author promotion ideas, I talked about being your best self. What image are you looking to share with your audience? You are here to “sell yourself”. If you want to sell your books, then the reality is that you must “sell you”! What goes on your social media sites needs to be the image you want to portray.
This leads us to part two. How does your website look? Is it a place you would want to visit? Do the colors and styles relate to your image? Make sure that you find that happy medium where you show as much of your real self as you are willing to have the public see and what relates to what you write. In addition, you want to have enough on your home page to keep it interesting, but not so much that it’s cluttered and hard to find things. Think of your home page as the central topic and then, the links to your other pages as the big ideas that support that central topic. On each of these pages (big ideas) are all the supporting details for that page. In other words, all your other pages are the meat of your image. My site has a page dedicated to each of my books, where you can purchase them, my biography, my blog and the biography of my main character. Is this the way to do it? It is for me, but it may not be right for you.
My colors are greens, grays and black. Again, right for you? Maybe but certainly right for the image I wish to portray… dark, spooky, mysterious, and captivating. There are some wonderful professionals out there who will design it for you, but heck, give it a try yourself if you’re on a budget. When we are rich and famous then we can hire the big guns! For now check out these three sites. It’s never too late to learn a new trick!