1. Mousiebear
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    Mousiebear New Member

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    Does This Paragraph Have An 'Hook'?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Mousiebear, Feb 27, 2013.

    Hi!

    I'm faced in an assignment with a challenge to write a story that begins with a paragraph containing a 'hook'.
    My Teacher says if the begining doesn't interest her we automaticly get less than 50%:eek:

    Thank you for any Help!

    “Yes ma’am and sir please just follow me and Dr. Reid will come shortly.” The kind nurse guided the two worried parents through the disturbing halls of the psychiatric ward.
    “Wait in this room please.” She shut the cold door behind them. In minutes, the doctor came into the room.
    “Am I talking to a Mr. and Mrs. Pike?” They both nodded numbly in reply.
    “Yes well this is a strange case at the least.”
    “Is she going to be alright? I promised Sara that I would take good care of her when I agreed to adopt her!”
    The room was filled with an uneasy silence and the doctor began to breathe shallow breaths.
    “What did you say she claimed to be capable of?” he asked wearily.
    “She says she can talk with her toys.” Mr. Pike told the doctor.
    “Well that is not what she told me,” Dr. Reid began, “she said that she could control them and make them move.”
    Mr. and Mrs. Pike looked at each other while Dr. Reid let out a nervous laugh.
    The doctor tensed up as he spoke “But with all that aside, to put it short, she said she could watch them float at her command and quite frankly, I saw them float too.”



    Tell me what you think! Thank you for all your help!
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's a lot of introduction here - the nurse, the walking, the halls, the room, the introduction... I'd say that the first meaningful sentence is

    “She says she can talk with her toys.” Mr. Pike told the doctor.

    You could start the story with that sentence. The material after that would still, IMO, need to be tighter and more compelling, but everything before that sentence can be removed entirely.

    I understand that you may feel that you need all that backstory - psychiatric, adoption, doctor, nurse, uneasiness... but you don't. "Toys" tells us that we're talking about a child. "Mr Pike" is almost certainly that child's parent. The doctor is of course a doctor. The delusional nature of the child's claim makes it clear what kind of doctor. And we don't care, yet, that the child is adopted. You don't need all the backstory sentences.
     
  3. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    I completely agree. It could be something like this.

    "She says she can talk with her toys."
    Inside the disturbing walls of the psychiatric ward waiting room, Mr. and Mrs. Pike ....
     
  4. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    Yep. I agree with the last two posts. I also think you have too many adjectives - kind nurse, worried parents, disturbing halls - in one sentence. Too many deaden the flow and make it boring to read. If you need to grab the reader's attention, you need punchy lines. There's a place for descriptive phrases, but you need to use them when the actually add something to the sentence - Mr. Reid let out a nervous laugh is one of those times and that works ok. Just go through it again and make sure you need every single word you've used. If you get of what you don't need, your writing will be sharper and therefore, hopefully more interesting.
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with what everyone else has said. I like the final sentence - that made me raise my eyebrows. You seem to have a good idea here, and your premise is not wrong - it is simply typical. Unfortunately typical doesn't hook very well. Follow ChickenFreak's advice - start with the talking toys. Your story can only get more intriguing as you reveal more (and if it doesn't, then you have some work to do not just with the writing, but the story).

    Starting with backstory is only an option when you have a very very interesting back story, and these ones usually have a great big dose of character development in them - your back story is not one of these. My advice is with everyone else: delete.
     
  6. Mousiebear
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    Mousiebear New Member

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    Thank you so much everyone! :)

    I will try rewriting it.
     
  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think this beginning definitely contains the hook. There is no backstory, no flashbacks, but the context is quite clear. Following the parents through those couple of paragraphs actually builds the suspense and characterises the offstage character (their daughter) quite well from the outset.
    From the first sentence there are plenty of things to intrigue the reader, and I don't think you need to cut it at all in fact cutting it too severely would completely lose the suspense and to me that would not be an improvement.
    The only things I found slightly bothersome:
    1. Too many adjectives starting with "kind nurse" In that sentence, you could omit "kind" and the mere fact she was being considerate towards "worried parents" is enough for the reader to asess that she is a kind person too.
    2. "When I adopted her" would be better; "Agreed to adopt" sounds clumsy.

    Otherwise it's a great start, it flows rather well and I see no need in making it any faster or more intense. Good luck! :)
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no hook at all, imo... and halls can't be 'disturbing'!
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I think you need the site rules:
    and:
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    double post
     
  11. JD Martin
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    JD Martin New Member

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    I'd change it up a bit. And also check over the grammar, because there are a couple of inconsistencies.
     
  12. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Yes they can
     
  13. Michael O
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    Michael O Contributing Member

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    I'm no expert, far from it. But the writing wizard have made many fine points. And with all what I don't know aside.......WOW! I like the hook. Great imagination. No, the kid is not just talking to toys. The toys are floating. The kid has power. No, not the kid in the paragraph, the kid who wrote it.
     
  14. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    It took 7 re-reads to infer what you probably meant. And that doesn't make a lot of sense either.
     
  15. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    why not? Its a phsyc ward, maybe it's blld stained, the screams from ecg echo through them.

    I saw a hook, as did many others. You're a hard taskmaster Mamma...


    As with the piece, i also thought too much description. Do we need to know about the adoption? Is there something in the biological parents that germinate these talking / moving dolls? Would worried parents laugh at the doctor's findings? Is Sara the bio mother of the adoption agent?

    I'd advise the OP to come back with the re-write
     
  16. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry, that should be blood stained.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no, it should be 'blood-stained' since it's a hyphenate adjective...

    and yes, i am!
     
  18. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    ...ssssssorry Ma'am.... doffs cap, leaves the room...
     

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