Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Importance of a Hook

Imagine you are out on a lake in a small boat -- Writer's life can be quite tranquil. You throw the anchor overboard -- you get to choose your own work area. Grab your rod and reel -- you even get to choose your equipment.

Next, open your tackle box and carefully, ever so carefully, choose a bait -- your hook. This is really, really important for all writers. The hook has to be perfect.

You look at that weed bed -- searching through the Writer's Market for a willing publisher. Throw the hook to just the right spot -- send that query or book proposal. Wait a little. Reel it in slowly. Nothing. It's called rejection.

Throw again to another spot. Nothing. Send another query. Again and again. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Tweak that hook. Redo it and start again. Keep trying; resubmit. Fix that hook some more.

It's pretty boring stuff, quite discouraging for writers, til that publisher strikes. You get to set that hook. If your hook is flimsy or not the right size, you reel in another rejection and have to start over.

But, if you get that hook set and the publisher wants your stuff, the fun really begins. That fish dives and surfaces, heads for the weeds, goes under your boat, up again, down again, scene after scene.

Finally, after all of that excitement, you bring it to a climax -- right up to the boat. Hold him steady and end with a bang. Swoop in with that net. The fish is caught and landed; writer and publisher are both happy.

It was so much fun, but it all started with a little hook -- just the right size and shape with the right bait.