By Linda Donaldson
The Writing Center was privileged to host Kathryn Craft in her Zoom webinar, “Honing Your Hook” on February 4, 2021. Over 20 participants were treated to the author’s tips on grabbing the attention of their prospective readers.
Just as every craftsperson needs properly sharpened tools, the aptly named Craft outlined the ways that writers can “hook” their readers with opening paragraphs that raise compelling questions, represent unique perspectives or show escalating intrigue.
Craft explained that books all have an inciting incident, often occurring later in the book, but hinted at in the “hook.” The stakes must arouse the protaganist’s desires and the reader’s curiosity.
The author described the relationship between the “hook” and “inciting incident” as the “Power Couple” of the writer’s plotting tools. Showing excerpts from many books, Craft demonstrated how these “couples” are complementary, supplementary or dependent on each other.
Successful writing, says Craft, reflects four elements that can be shortened to the mnemonic RAID.
- Raise the stakes
- Add a ticking clock
- Intensify backstory motivation
- Deepen the Point of View
Craft suggested you have only seconds for the cover and back cover copy and first paragraph to grip the attention of potential readers. This “first impression” can ensure your book is either purchased or passed over.
Kathryn Craft has published two books, “The Far End of Happy” and “The Art of Falling.” Long a leader in the southeastern Pennsylvania writing scene, Craft served for more than a decade in a variety of positions on the boards of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference, and has been named the 2020 Guiding Scribe for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Learn more about the author on her website http://www.kathryncraft.com.