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Three examples of a good “hook” for mystery beginning from Sisters in Crime

From Sisters In Crime blog. Sargent Wordslayer’s SWAT Boot Camp for Novelists.

Example One: Ordinary day turns to….incoming danger. Put your hero into a scene like the opening of Micahel Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer. Your hero is going to work. A normal day. S/he gets a phone call. Something unexpected happens, and you are off to the races. Sargent Wordslayer says “Get that iincoming bomb in the first 150 words.”

Example Two: Get the story problem in the first line. Example, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. The first line. “It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.” Give Sargent Wordslayer six new first lines that foreshadow your story problem…now! Get writing. You’ve got three minutes. Put that Popsicle down and get cracking. No looking around the room. Write, golly-gosh-darn-it.

Example Three: Pick a fight. Check out Harlen Coben’s Deal Breaker. Make your hero pick a fight with a throw-away character so we can bond with his righteous indignation, ability to protect the weak, and possibly admire his mental acuity and muscular body. Sargent Wordslayer gives bonus points if you can make the fight happen in two pages while simultaneously demonstrating your hero’s internal psychological flaw and one endearing little quirk.

One Response

  1. I like the first example best.

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