Sunday, April 19, 2015

What Hooks You in a Book?

What glues you to a story start to finish? That’s a great question, Rhobin.

I’m presently judging a book contest of published publics in two categories; contemporary and mainstream. I have to score each book according to a standardized score sheet. It covers hooks, plot, characters, conflict and endings plus a few other things. Some of them have really grabbed me. First they have a great hook. Then they reveal just enough information about the characters and/or plot to keep me reading to find out a little more. They skillfully develop their characters so I want to know what happens to them and they hook me at the end of each chapter so I decide to read just a few more pages. The plot intensifies, the stakes are raised and the narrative and dialogue progress the story. There are twists and turns that keep me guessing – and reading right to the end.

I’d like to think my stories meet all those pints. I aim for it.
As for what hooks I use to capture my readers – usually I try for a hook at the beginning that will grab the reader and make them want to read a few more pages. I also try to have a hook at the end of each chapter so the reader will turn a few more pages.
I can hardly wait to see what the others in the group have to say. Join me. Here’s a list of the authors to check. 
Diane Bator
Ginger Simpson
Skye Taylor
Marci Baun
Margaret Fieland
Helena Fairfax
Anne Stenhouse
Fiona McGier
Connie Vines
Rachael Kosnski
Victoria Chatham
Lynn Crain
Rhobin Courtright


  1. I've read some of your work, and it does all of what you hope. I don't envy your judging, I judge in another type of event, and often it can be so subjective. But that's how readers are, too.

    1. Thanks, Rhobin. I appreciate that. I don't think it matte4rs what we judge it's always interesting and you're so right. It's subjective, just like our readers.

  2. I judge every year in a contest also. Some books I have to force myself to finish. Others, I feel so lucky that I get to read for free, because I'd absolutely pay for that privilege. Some of those I later buy for friends and relatives, who wonder how I knew they'd love that books so much.

    1. I so agree with you. Some of the ones are so hard to read and you really want to toss them. This contest I've been happily surprised. I've found some new authors who have really hooked me for the whole book.

  3. I do think that some books are better at hooking but sometimes those hooks seem forced. I'm glad that you are judging. I also judge each year and find that it's challenging but so rewarding to give back.

    1. Thanks Melissa. t looks like most of us judge at least once during the year. It is challenging, but also a learning experience. I always learn something about my writing as I score theirs.