The Hook, The Body and The Twist

By Linda Donaldson

July’s Writers Guild meeting this past Sunday was full of shared work and spirited discussion. Anne introduced a guest, Lonnie Barone, author, lecturer and editorial writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, who spoke about blogs and opinion editorials or op-eds.

On Sunday, Lonnie told us his simple 3-step formula: a hook, followed by the body or thesis, and the twist. Start by capturing the reader’s interest, tell the story, and end with something unexpected that will make the reader think. You can find Lonnie’s blog under our Resources heading entitled On Blogs and Op-eds.

Six writers shared their work beginning with Beverly Sce, who brought an inspirational look at the nursing profession’s guiding principles. Comments centered around who was the intended audience – nursing students or others.

Melissa Triol brought another intriguing chapter of her mystery novel that sparked discussion concerning dialogue revealing character and motivation.

Nursing again was the theme with a story by Jane Bleam about treating a coal mine accident victim, plus another patient with a leg injury who faced learning how to walk again. Many agreed the two stories should be separate, and were touched by the coal miner’s story in particular.

Lonnie’s Sunday, July 17th op-ed was read and its subject, the prostitution of women by extortion and kidnapping and the efforts of nuns in Philadelphia to provide shelter and support for them, struck a chord with everyone. His profile of an individual was an excellent example of his 3 step format for an op-ed.

Dystopia was the backdrop to Joel Mendez’s new short story. We all were engrossed in the differing reactions of people to the news that the world is about to end from a collision with an asteroid. Then, how that changes when the predicted end time passes without obliteration.

Tim Jost brought a reflective memory piece that recalled a birthday and celebrated his favorite things with a lyrical expression of the beauty of the flowers in his garden. Discussion centered around the point of view of the writer and verb tenses, but readers uniformly agreed that one could almost smell the blossoms.

Ever on the lookout for good resources, our PSB Novel-in-a-Year instructor, Anita Nolan, recommends an article from the online site called The Editor’s Blog by Fiction Editor Beth Hill. Format Your Novel for Submission is copyrighted © 2010-2016 by E. A. Hill.

Our next meeting is Sunday, August 21st from 1:30 to 3:30pm in the Cultural Center [red barn] at Green Hills Farm, 520 Dublin Road, Perkasie, PA. Join us there and bring 15 copies of any work (up to 3 pages) and remember to add your email address to your work.

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