Well, folks. It was fun while it lasted.

As you can see, not much has been happening on this blog lately.

There are several reasons for this, but I will only hit on a couple:

First: It's amazing how much can change in a couple of months--both in our personal lives and on the writing front. A couple of us have signed publishing contracts, and so the need to write, edit, market, promote HAD to take preference over this blog and the services we were providing.

Second: Running this blog, critiquing submissions, providing feedback...well, that's a LOT of dang work. We weren't getting paid for this service. We had a concept and we went with it--for free--not realizing how much time it would involve with very little (nothing) in return for our effort.

Third: Probably the biggest factor that made us come to this decision, was the fact that a good portion of the submissions we received just weren't ready. They needed more revision. We were wanting to give out reviews on AMAZING, fully complete, well edited novels. 90% of what we received didn't come close.

So we've shut it down. We've moved on.

If you liked our comments and our posts, you can check us out on our individual blogs:

Angela Scott: www.whimsywritingandreading.weebly.com or @whimsywriting on twitter or http://www.facebook.com/AngelaScottWriter

D.S. Tracy:

Kacey Mark:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pimped Paragraph #3

Posted by Ready, Aim, Hook Me at 5:25 AM
 (Your comments are welcomed and highly encouraged. The author of this first paragraph submission is looking for all the constructive criticism they can receive to improve their opening hook.  Do you agree with us Hook'ers? Disagree? Were you hooked and would want to read more? Let this author know).

ORIGINAL SUBMISSION (Genre: Suspense Fiction):
Sam was feeling exceptionally well. He recalled his lunchtime conversation with his wife, Monica. She’d given him the evening’s schedule; they were celebrating their son Timothy’s birthday. While Sam went over the conversation, he performed the end of the day rituals. He grinned widely, thinking of how detailed his wife’s arranging of the evening would be. The entire evening sounded great. He mulled over how the whole family enjoyed these moments, as a family. Sam removed his work gloves as he made his way back to his truck. The kids would be smiling, hugging and kissing. The girls made such fuss over Tim.


Sam was feeling exceptionally well. (Can you show me this instead of telling me this?) He recalled his lunchtime conversation with his wife, Monica. She’d given him the evening’s schedule; they were celebrating their son Timothy’s birthday. While Sam went over the conversation, he performed the end of the day rituals. (What are these rituals? What's he doing? Small little details like that would allow the reader to connect with him.) He grinned widely (unnecessary--adverb), thinking of how detailed his wife’s arranging of the evening would be. The entire evening sounded great. (I don't know anything about the party to know if it sounds great or not--give me details. You're just telling me it is great. Show me instead.) He mulled over how the whole family enjoyed these moments, as a family. (you said the whole family enjoyed these moments. Adding "as a family" is redundant and unneeded) Sam removed his work gloves as he made his way back to his truck. The kids would be smiling, hugging and kissing. The girls made such fuss over Tim (who's Tim?).

I didn't connect with this character. I don't know much about him or his family to feel invested. I think it has a lot to do with "telling" me what happened and what is going to happen verses "showing me" what is taking place. At this point, without reading the rest of the page, I can almost bet you haven't started the story in the right place. I bet it comes a bit later--your true beginning. 

I would suggest reworking this paragraph, give me details, toss me into the story OR scan your story, look for the spot where the story really picks up. I think you're trying to add a bunch of characters too quickly, but it would be better to introduce them as the story unfolds, as your character talks to them and relates to them. 

Hope this feedback helped. 
~Angela Scott The Reluctant Hook'er
***
Sam was feeling exceptionally well. He recalled his lunchtime conversation with his wife, Monica. She’d given him the evening’s schedule; they were celebrating their son Timothy’s birthday. While Sam went over the conversation, he performed the end of the day rituals. He grinned widely, thinking of how detailed his wife’s arranging of the evening would be. The entire evening sounded great. He mulled over how the whole family enjoyed these moments, as a family. Sam removed his work gloves as he made his way back to his truck. The kids would be smiling, hugging and kissing. The girls made such fuss over Tim.  (This graph is all telling, which makes me feel distanced from this character. Show me a skip in his step or something that he was feeling well.  I don't think you're starting in the right place. Start with action, maybe the party? There was nothing about this graph that would propel me to read forward, that doesn't mean the rest of your story isn't great, but you want to hook us right away and keep us there through the end. Keep working on it. Best of luck) 


The Skeptical Hook'er. 
***
Kacey Mark: Coming to you live in technicolor pink!

It burns! It burns!

Sam was feeling exceptionally well. <Uh-oh. There's that "was" word. it tends to distance your reader. Lemme in there, Author. I want to plunge right into what's going on inside his head. I like his name, maybe I'll like him too but I haven't been given the chance yet.> He recalled <So he's a thinker. That's good. But if we are in his Point of view (POV), and we want to be,  we don't really need this. try to rephrase the sentence without it.> his lunchtime conversation with his wife, Monica.<Okay, another great character name but no glimpse of who she is besides the wifey. Which means that Sam is not the muscle-bound bachelor I thought he was. Well... I guess there's still hope for the muscles though. :-)> She’d given him the evening’s schedule; they were celebrating their son Timothy’s birthday. While Sam went over the conversation, he performed the end of the day rituals.<And what might those be? chopping down trees and throwing them over his shoulder with inhuman, muscle-bound strength? Or grooming Guinea pigs at the local Pet Smart? I think you know which one I'm rooting for.> He grinned widely <Ack! an "LY" word. it points at the possibility of telling (not showing) and the need for a stronger verb>, thinking of how detailed his wife’s arranging of the evening would be. The entire evening sounded great.<Ugh... *folds arms* Well I want to hear the details then. I'm not doing to deny my deep-rooted urge to meddle in other people's details. Isn't that what reading a good book is all about anyway?> He mulled over <There he is thinking again. *Pouts* I'm starting to get a not-so-Sam-The-Lumbar-jack vibe. Maybe he's more of a scholar?>how the whole family enjoyed these moments, as a family. Sam removed his work gloves <Oh! Gloves mean hard work right? Maybe I shouldn't revoke his stud card just yet>as he made his way back to his truck.<Truck! Score! I knew he was a real guy in there somewhere! Hormones rejoice! (until Monica shows up that is)> The kids would be smiling, hugging and kissing. The girls made such fuss over Tim.

I'm sorry to make a mess of your first paragraph by hosing it down with girly-hormone pink, but I just couldn't help myself. There seems to be too much distance between your character and your readers. A distance that can do one of two things given the reader's personality: 

One, let them run wild with their imagination until you finally reign them in with the possible threat of disappointment, 

Or two, bore them because they just can't get into your characters.

Set up your characters at the very beginning with a clear image and get deep into their POV before the reader forms the wrong impression.

7 comments:

Amber Plum on September 1, 2011 at 6:49 AM said...

I agree. I felt distant, but I could tell that I could like this character. I almost felt like the intro was too basic and this could be any family. Maybe that is the point and then the fall will happen but if that is the case I need to be in love with him from the get go so I can feel along with him.

Michael A Tate on September 1, 2011 at 7:06 AM said...

This seems like a case where you are starting in the wrong spot. A book is more like a TV show than a movie. Show us something so compelling right away so we don't change the channel (put down your book)

Also, as was mentioned, show us what the characters are doing and feeling once you find your starting point.

Marc Mattaliano on September 1, 2011 at 8:21 AM said...

Gosh, and I thought I did a lot of telling vs. showing. There's a perfect example right there.

Ya know, at first, I thought these paragraph pimps came off a bit condescending, but I kinda like how you've deconstructed them and shown exactly where things could be better and why. It's caused me to write very differently and challenge my imagination to come up with things it never has before. Aside from the piece I submitted back in June, I feel like the 13-year-old girl in my newest WIP is extremely likeable and easy to relate to, even if her homelife and background are really rough, and it's mainly a result of your guidance.

I'm really happy I found RAHM. It's helped me become a much better writer, :-D

*Testimonial Over* ;-)

RGian said...

Hi Hookers! I love your blog. Your advice on this one is spot on! I have a request. Could you please post the genre when you post a paragraph? That would be helpful...

Ready, Aim, Hook Me on September 1, 2011 at 11:29 AM said...

RGian, I will do and add the genre right now. Great suggestion.

Ready, Aim, Hook Me on September 1, 2011 at 1:38 PM said...

Whoops. That was supposed to say "go" not "do".

Mistakes happen.

Anonymous said...

Actually when I undertook writing the book, I thought about writing it for becoming a movie.

Martin H. Petry
writer of Hard Justice The Violation.

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