The Writing Newbie

Writing is an adventure. Enjoy the journey and write the way you love!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Writing with Haircuts

This morning I was reminded of something I had read in Write to be Published  by Nicola Morgan  I had waited at the hair dressers for fifteen minutes (even though I had an appointment), had my hair washed for nearly as long (WHY? It was clean when I got in!) and then had to wait some more before a seat opened up.

The hairdresser had finally come to cut my hair and I was subjected to the horrible but socially demanded small talk. I never seem to have anything in common with my hairdressers and they never seem to understand what I’m talking about. Usually after about ten minutes of small talk we spend the rest of the time in awkward silence while I can see her looks of “you’re weird” in the mirror.

Which is sort of true and besides the point.

What reminded me of Morgan‘s book was when I told the hairdresser I wanted to be a writer after I finished my studies (I didn’t bother to explain that I already was a writer, didn’t need to finish my studies to be published and did, in fact, strive to be published). After she exclaimed how great that was she asked a question I always dread: “So what is your story about?”

I haltingly and awkwardly told me some of the basic plot lines without giving to much away and lamely ended in the “…but it’s kinda hard to explain like this” excuse. (To my defense my story is in English and I had to say all this in Dutch. Had not prepared for that).

This resulted in some funny looks, a disappointed “Oh” and the observation that I probably found it very easy to write my thoughts down on paper. I agreed (wondering why she asked) and she nodded and said “It’s probably easier for you to write your thoughts down than to say it like this right?”

…. She’s good.

Sufficient to say the rest of my haircut was very awkward, even more so when she asked if I had published anything yet, like it was the easiest thing in the world.

The point of this deliciously embarrassing story is something that Morgan calls a hook. As she says in her book (which you HAVE to read. Seriously. Buy it. Now!) “A hook is a way of describing your book in a concise and enticing way.”

It has to persuade people that your book is awesome and worth buying/reading. And it has to be short. Like one maybe two sentences short.

It’s not only handy to know if your story is working (if you can’t think of a hook at all, maybe there is something wrong with your plot. Maybe there is no plot) and handy in getting an agent/publisher. But it is incredibly handy in avoiding embarrassing and horrifying events like the one I had this morning with my hairdresser.

I had read this book by and by and did think about a hook for a while, but when faces with the task of quickly translating it within Dutch, I was lost.

My lesson in this is to create a Dutch version of my hook and learn it by heart. And rewrite my first hook to begin with. I felt the need to explain more to her, like my original hook wasn’t enough because I could see she wasn’t “wowed” by what I was saying.

Do you have a hook for your story? Do you think you need one?
Leave it in a comment below!

We were celebrating my dad’s (60 yesterday) and brother’s (22 tomorrow!) birthdays today! And for the record, everybody loved my new haircut (and they thought short-ish hair looked really good on me, when I had just decided to let it grow long again… sigh…).

I hope that everyone is happily writing away at their stories! My #insanonano update: ca. 23.000 words at this moment. Should have around 30.000 by now…. O.o…. If you want to know more please follow me on twitter! @Lordkiwii

With that said I am going back to my writing!

If you still haven’t had enough of my ramblings here’s an interview I did recently with writer M.R. Jordan on her blog:

Keep Writing!

Xx Noortje 

1 comment:

  1. I'm over halfway through Nicola Morgan's book, and it is such an eye opener.

    I think you do need a hook, though I've not thought of one for my WIP yet.