Improve Your Hook

We’ve all  heard that a writer needs to draw in their readers with a great hook, but how do we do it?  Establish who is your protagonist and what is their flaw. Draw off that flaw as you write your hook and connect your reader to your protagonist. Propel your reader into action. Try to set the mood in the setting also and how the protagonist relates. Throughout the story, you have to think like your protagonist and what they would do. Their flaw must get in their way and the protagonist doesn’t realize it until the epiphany part of the story.

The Farmer’s Sons

Here is an old  legend I found interesting. A farmer had two sons. The eldest son went out of his way to help his father out on the farm. The youngest son ran off to the navy. On the farmer’s death bed, he left the entire estate to his eldest son. The younger son came home for the funeral and found out his father left him nothing. Wracked with jealousy and sadness, the younger son left. The longer he fumed over the situation, the more he became obsessed that he had been cheated of his birthright. He decided to seek revenge.

One night, he crept onto the farm and set the buildings on fire. The entire property burned to the ground. In the morning, only a few stones remained of the farmhouse. He received a packet in the mail. He opened it and got the shock of his life. His brother had died the previous day and had left the entire estate to him.

 

Know Your Characters

A reader has to engage with your characters to care about them or they won’t finish your story. You, as the writer, must figure out the details. What do you know about your character? What brings them joy? What scares them? What are their values? Do they have goals?

As you write your story, think about your character. Whose story is it? What do they want? What stops them from getting it? How do they get it? Put your character in a new situation. Is his everyday life disrupted?

Think about voice. You don’t want all your characters sounding alike. If you took away the dialogue tags, can your reader distinguish each character without them? Does your character repeat a phrase? Does your character stutter? Does he have an accent?

Your character drives the plot. You don’t want to bore your reader. Give your character a flaw to overcome and put obstacles in his path. Continue to increase the stakes.  If you find your story is paced too fast, then slow it down with emotion. Good luck.

Plot Versus Story

How can you tell if your novel or tale is only story or plot? Story is the emotional journey and plot is the physical journey. For example: If a heroine’s father is gunned down by mobsters that is plot, but if the heroine cries over the bloody corpse that’s story.

Plot moves your character from the starting location to the ending location. Struggles along the way are the physical parts of the plot. The story moves your character from the person he/ she was at the beginning to the person he/ she ends up being at the end.

Plot is action. If things are dragging in your story, simply add more action. If things are too fast, slow it down by adding emotion. Goals drive your characters and their flaws impede them. Create a flaw in your character that is opposite of your theme so the character can grow emotionally.

The Unlucky 13

Today is Friday the thirteenth and many fear this day. There are many theories and ideas as to why this day is unlucky. The superstition has thought to have come during the Middle Ages. Some historians claim it was the day on which Eve bit the apple from the Tree of Knowledge.  Templar Jacques de Molay cursed the Pope and the King of France on Friday the thirteenth and  misfortunes  followed.

I find it interesting that many buildings and hotels are missing the thirteenth floor in Western countries. Houses often don’t have the number thirteen either. It is considered unlucky for thirteen people to dine together and the first one to rise will reach serious misfortune. Did you know that President Roosevelt refused to travel on Friday the 13th?

Some real misfortunes have happened in history on Friday the 13th.  In 1976, a man by the name, Dan Baxter decided the safest place to stay on one Friday the 13th, was his bed. He was killed when the floor of his apartment collapsed that day. Another mysterious tale involves a thirteen year old boy who was struck by lightening on Friday the 13th at 13: 13. Some people believe if you call the doctor on Friday the 13th for the first time it is an omen of death.

The greatest danger on Friday the 13th is those who believe in the superstition strongly. As a result, they become anxious and distracted, thereby causing their own accidents and it becoming a fulfilled prophecy. If you tell someone they are cursed and they believe it, their blood pressure rises and they put themselves at risk. IMG_0259

The Scourge of Parson Dodge

I thought with Halloween approaching that I would share a mysterious legend. The village of Talland lies along the eastern coast of Cornwall. It was known for an area of smuggling goods. Between 1713 through 1747, a vicar by the name of Parson Richard Dodge acquired a reputation as a Ghost Hunter and an Exorcist. IMG_0426

Dodge spread the tale that he saw the devil  driving a sable coach drawn by two headless horses. He spoke of demons near the Bridle Lane path which lead to the beach. The Parson ensured with this story that God-fearing folk would steer clear of the area at night and not disturb his illegal trade. He also let it be known that on his approach, evil spirits would cry out, ‘Dodge has come. I must be gone!’

His reputation as the scourge of evil spread far and wide. Legend states that the original church was to have been constructed at a nearby pulpit and work had commenced. But each day, the stones that had been laid had transported over to the present site.

A chilling voice had been rumored to command, “Fulfill my wish and build the church on Talland Hill.”

The superstitious masons complied and there it stands today.