Instructor: Melissa Cutler
Dates: February 6-17th, 2018
It was a dark and stormy night…and writers everywhere were staring at blank computer screens as they wracked their brains for the perfect way to begin their stories that would hook readers from the very first sentence and keep them turning the page all the way to THE END. Writing hooks is a cornerstone of extraordinary storytelling. No matter how original the book concept or dynamic the character development, a writer’s first and most important job is to get readers invested in their story immediately, then keep that interest kindled line by line, chapter by chapter.
A narrative hook is the method by which a writer grabs the readers’ attention. But like fishing, reeling in a reader all the way to THE END is about more than the bait and the first bite. The hook needs to be set and the tension of the hook maintained so that the fish—or the reader—doesn’t drift away. In this interactive workshop, participants will learn a wide variety of practical tools for creating narrative hooks, not only for use in the first few lines or pages of their story, but at the end of chapters and throughout their manuscripts. Participants will walk away with a toolbox brimming with tools they can put into action immediately to turn their stories into page-turners.
Lectures will be presented every other day throughout the workshop, often with accompanying assignments so participants can hone their skills. There will be multiple opportunities for participates to share their completed assignments and share hooks from their own manuscripts, as well as ample time for questions. This workshop is designed for participants at all stages of the writing journey, from those who have never written a story to multi-published authors.
• How to Start a Story—The First Sentence and First Paragraph
• Ending a Chapter on a Hook
• The Prologue Conundrum
• Micro-Tension (Melissa votes this the number one “hooking” skill writers need)
• Dialogue Tricks
• Question Chains
• Dreams, Driving, and Deep Thoughts—What NOT to Do
• How to Incorporate Backstory Without Boring Your Readers
• Tips to Avoid a Saggy Middle
• Melissa’s Storytelling Tips from the Trenches
Melissa Cutler is a former high school English teacher turned published author with St. Martin’s Press, Berkley, Kensington Books, and Harlequin. After many years of honing her romance writing skills and racking up more than 150 rejections from agents and editors, she sold four books in five days to two separate New York publishers and landed her dream agent. In the five years since, she’s gone on to sell seventeen books and she’s just getting warmed up. Her latest release is ONE WILD NIGHT in her popular ONE AND ONLY TEXAS Series from St. Martin’s Press. You can learn more about Melissa and her books at www.melissacutler.net.