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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » Ok, here's another hook I'd like to check

   
Author Topic: Ok, here's another hook I'd like to check
rcmann
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I keep hearing that one major weakness I have is grabbing the reader's attention. So I have been concentrating a lot of effort on polishing my fishing skills. Does this work?

(twelve lines again)
-------------

Ramon was passing the slave pen when he saw the girl. It was the tattoos that caught his eye. They swirled up her naked side and across her back. Like meadow grass, twisted by the wind, they turned and tangled. The pattern was unmistakeable. He could not fail to recognize that pattern, nor what it implied.

“How much?” He pointed at her. The slave peddler perked up and put away his sack of tally sticks. He checked the customer's weapons and boots, worn but top quality, and smiled.

“Two hundred and fifty silver.” The greasy specimen rubbed his hands together. “You can see her quality, fine sir. Pure Cairen stock, freshly captured!”

The potential buyer hacked and spat. “I never saw a slaver yet that could speak truth without strangling, but you're worse than

[ May 20, 2012, 12:07 AM: Message edited by: Kathleen Dalton Woodbury ]

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babooher
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I think you started one line too soon. I think if you're looking for a hook, "It was the slave girl's tattoos that caught Ramon's eye," or some such would have almost all the info of the first sentence while making a more intriguing hook. I've read once that all stories are boy meets girl (an oversimplification but very romantic). The line I wrote captures that while providing plenty of avenues for intrigue.

Having said that, the rest seems pretty interesting. I think some might call shenanigans for withholding what the tattoos imply, but that's a matter of taste.

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axeminister
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rcmann,
I'm not hooked at this point, but my reasoning isn't the story, which sounds interesting, but my confusion. Nearly every sentence is making me ask a question, which is slowing me down to the point of ineffectiveness.

I can't remember if you or maybe Lloyd started a topic regarding not critiquing a 13, so just in case, I'm only offering my knee-jerk reaction.

Axe

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History
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I agree with babooher. The hook is the second sentence. Omit the first.

I'd suggest rewording "greasy character" which is a bit of a modern euphemism and cliche.

Anyway, a tattooed nude woman and a soldier/warrior does spark my interest. Shades of Conan et al.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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extrinsic
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I see a "hook" working from Ramon's want to purchase the tatooed girl. The slave peddler poses a degree of opposition to Ramon fulfilling that want. I think, though, that the voice is unsettled, switching awkwardly back and forth between Ramon's voice, ideal, and a remote narrator's, less than ideal. I think the voice dillutes the "hook."
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genevive42
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I agree with much of what's been said. Also though, I was really annoyed by the withholding. If the tattoos were so distinct and important and he knew what they meant, then the reader should know too. To be honest, if the tattos are truly that interesting, the greater hook will be created by telling the reader. "Suspense is created by what you do know, not what you don't know." - OSC
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genevive42
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By the way, I do like the idea on this one.
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Notwald
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Of the three you posted, I like this one the best, though I agree with much of what has been said above.

A couple of quick points and a suggestion for the intro:
1) You seem to like the adjective "greasy". (I think you used it in one of the other hooks as well.)I'm not a fan.
2) Describing Ramon as "the potential buyer" in the last sentence, created some confusion for me about who it was. It also weirdly shifts the perspective.

How about beginning with: "Ramon was passing the slave pen when he her, tattoos swirling up her naked side and across her back."

Finally, the last two sentences of the first paragraph say the same thing. I agree that a teaser about what they imply might be more interesting.

I would probably read on for a bit, though, just to see where you are going.

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LDWriter2
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I finally get to this. Not bad over all. For me just a couple of little points.

You say "The pattern was unmistakeable" I'm not sure you really need the next sentence as it is in that case.

Second: as someone said the potential buyer phrase can be a tad confusing.

I read it before it was shortened and if you can get that human line in there, it changes things. And makes me say Hmm, intriguing.

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rcmann
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Burly detective syndrome. Got it.

I obviously need to polish the whole issue of the tatoos. Probably just drop the up front reference to any significance and let it come out slowly. They are clan markings for the enemy ruling class, and as an experienced vet he spotted that. But I didn't want to dump that on the reader right away.

Hm...

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TimP
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The initial lead in is quite interesting.

I would appreciate having the opportunity to read more in order to form an opinion of the whole story.

My email address is timdpus@yahoo.com

I respectfully await your response.

TimP

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rcmann
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I'll gladly send you a copy fo the first draft, in the hopeful event that I live long enough to finish it.
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TimP
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I'm brand new to the group, as you can tell, so please forgive my ineptitude.

I really liked the lines you posted and was hoping there were more.

I hope to figure out what is going on in the group before I stick my foot too deeply in my mouth. [Smile]

I'm pretty excited about being a member. The group seems to be just what I've been looking for.

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rcmann
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Nothing inept about it. It was a generous offer that I appreciate.
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mayflower988
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While I agree with most of what's been said, I would like to say that the story concept itself did catch my attention. It did make me wonder what the tattoos meant and what purpose Ramon had in mind for this slave girl. So yes, a good idea, just watch how many questions you raise and what voice you use.
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