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Help for the Hook Helpless

Womens Fiction

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#1 Keeppositive

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 06:36 PM

So many frustrations, so few outcomes... 

 

Kathlyn inherits a beach bungalow on a little advertised Florida island, but what appears as an opportunity turns into an obstacle as she struggles to heal herself and the island.

 

 

Feedback needed!



#2 speedchuck

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 10:28 AM

Kathlyn inherits a 1 beach bungalow on a little advertised 2 Florida island, but 3 what appears as an opportunity turns into an obstacle as she struggles to heal herself and the island.

 

1. Beach is redundant. Easy to assume.

2. Don't need to know what state.

These give you more room to expand.

3. This is a lot of words that says very little about what is going on.

4. This is the real goal of the hook, to define who Kathlyn is and what she struggles with.

 

My suggestion:

 

When [insert defining trait here] Kathlyn inherits a bungalow on a little-known island, [tell us what problem with the island she discovers, why Kathlyn needs healing as she heals the island, and what the goal/stakes are]

 

Unless this is a twitter pitch, don't worry too much about it being long. It's easier to cut out unnecessary detail than to add in necessary detail. I'm having trouble giving you a revision because I don't know what the problem with the island/Kathlyn is, or how it needs to be healed.



#3 Keeppositive

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 03:21 PM

Attempt #2:

 

A student’s tragic suicide leads Kathlyn to question her profession and move to a small island; but the residents’ refusal to accept outsiders threaten both her future and that of the island’s.



#4 giffordmac

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 12:50 PM

This is definitely better, but still a little vague. Is the threat a physical one? Is there something about Kathlyn or the island folk that's different from ordinary people? How does the threat to Kathlyn tie into the threat to the island? What does Kathlyn have to lose if she leaves? Or why doesn't she just pack up and go?

 

We need a little more specific information about the people involved.

 

Best of luck!


“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” ― Elie Wiesel

 

~~~

 

 

 

 


#5 Keeppositive

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 09:01 PM

Attempt #3

 

A student’s tragic suicide leads Kathlyn to question her profession and move to a small island; but residents’ hostility towards outsiders leave her trapped on an island that won't embrace her, and leave the island unable to welcome tourists they so desperately need to survive.

 

And thank you so much, giffordmac and speedchuck for your opinions. Keep them coming! It really helps. Any better? Confusing?

 

Attempt #4

 

Following a student’s tragic suicide, high school counselor Kathlyn questions her professional skills, changes careers and moves to a small island where she discovers a town in economic distress: if she cannot convince  residents to accept outsiders and embrace tourists, the island will become a ghost town, and Kathlyn will face yet another failure, one from which she fears she cannot recover.



#6 Niambi

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 12:23 AM

The one you had in the very first post was a good start.  These two new ones are definitely a step backward.  

 

I'd use SpeedChuck's example as a template and move from there.  It has the basics a hook really needs:

 

(Who) When [insert defining trait here] Kathlyn

(What) inherits a bungalow on

(Where) a little-known island,

(Why: as in why is there conflict) [tell us what problem with the island she discovers, why Kathlyn needs healing as she heals the island, and what the goal/stakes are]

 

The when is usually not important unless it's in the future or the past.  The "how" is also not usually part of a hook ... unless it is (via super powers or something)

 

At the very least we need to know who your MC is, what he/she wants or needs.

 

The first one works better because it's shorter and more concise.  A few edits from the versions above would make it better:

 

Kathlyn, a young high school counselor, inherits a bungalow in a distressed town but must convince the residents to change their ways before/in order to ...

 

The conflict can be centered around Kathlyn NOT wanting the town to shudder, but I wouldn't start off with some other person's suicide as her motivation.  That may have been her motivation to leave home and move to Florida, but what makes her want to help the town?



#7 Spiffy McBang

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 05:35 PM

I agree with Niambi about not using the suicide in the hook. It's the kind of thing that will come (hopefully) as an interesting surprise for whoever reads your manuscript, but it doesn't seem to be what you want to focus on.

 

Drawing back a bit, though... the suicide and the inheritance would seem to create two motivations for Kathlyn to move to the island in question. Obviously I don't know your book, and maybe it works when read in full, but just knowing that makes me think the motivations might trip over each other. If she inherits the bungalow around the time of the suicide, it's... it can work, but it might also feel a little too easy.

 

Alternatively, if Kathlyn inherits the bungalow, maybe she takes the opportunity because she feels like a failure at her job in a way that would relate to how she would fail if the town falls apart, but without the single incident of suicide helping drive her away. Or the suicide makes her effectively run away by choice. She could even use inheritance money to buy the bungalow, which would give the story a similar set of details but have her actively choose to leave her job after the suicide, which is probably stronger than just being handed a bungalow.







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