Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Chapter Open-Hooks

Today Erica, over at Erica Writes, posted the end-hooks to her novel. Since I posted my end-hooks when she posted her beginning-hooks, I thought I'd flip and give you the chapter opening hooks of my novel Blink.

1) “Doesn’t anything work right in this place any more?”
2) “Well, you’ve brought me this far. What now?”
3) Stony silence greeted her from the opposite chair.
4) From somewhere inside the store a bell rang and a male voice rang out.
5) Mary sat straight up in bed, a half-formed scream lodged in her throat.
6) The remainder of the day was a blur to Mary.
7) “What makes this thing go?” asked John.
8) The sky was beginning to brighten in front of them as they drove down the steep incline of a long forgotten road.
9) Dawn was just breaking over the horizon when its first pink rays lit upon the battlements. The light glinted from the strange steel of the twisted fencing and from the metal crosses thrust into the ground like knives pointed toward the city.
10) On the second day out from the city, Mary caught a glimpse of something ahead of them. In the distance, a great black mass rose up from the flat expanse of wasteland.
11) “For shame for shame cry ed… cry-ed?... cried the lay dees… maid. What show king… shocking conduct miss I-ree…"
12) “Hey, Joe! Would you look at this!”
13) True to his word, Joe guided the vehicle off the main roadway and toward a great building of steel and glass. In front of the structure was a sea of human bodies, each waiting for the first glimpse of the ‘othersiders’, as Joe had called them.
14) The last person to leave was the tiny woman who’d brought Mary water. “I’m sorry about my colleagues,” she said. “When you are charged with the task of governing, you have to think on behalf of everyone.”
15) The bridge loomed dark above her and the voices drifted down from its unbroken expanse like gulls calling out over the bay.
16) “Miss Jones? There’s someone here to see you.”
17) Hours later when the car landed where the road to Wastondecy met the forest, Mary was still lost in thought.
18) “I’m almost disappointed they haven’t re-manned the old battlements for us,” Daniel joked as they looked toward the inner barrier.
19) The sun was full in the sky when they reached the creaking wharfs.
20) Other than a single glaring bulb illuminating her stark white surroundings, she was alone.
21) “Where the hell have you been?” Jason barked.
22) “Kyle? Take ten men and circle around the left side of the perimeter. Jason? Another ten on the right.”
23) “Should we shut off the feed?” Mary looked up to see one of the men pointing to the vidcam. Its controller had left it on and the unmanned device was now pointing downward toward the Steward’s limp and oozing shell.
24) A tired band tramped through the doors of the old school building.
25) After the argument had wound down to a sullen agreement to disagree, Parker suggested the two of them seek out the proof they were lacking.
26) Minutes later, he found her pacing in what used to be a library. “Very impressive,” he said.
27) Night was creeping upon them as Daniel delivered the news of Russell’s disappearance, and Mary raced down hallways made surreal by the dim flickering light of ancient fluorescent bulbs.

Doing this is actually educational. I didn't realize how many times I opened the chapter with some fact about the time of day, for instance. I also noticed these aren't very hook-ish. Thank goodness I'm editing this book right now, so I can fix that stuff. (BTW, the endings will have changed, too. Sorry.)

I invite you writers to post some of your beginning and/or end hooks for your chapters. Or at the very least pull them out and look at them against each other. You might be surprised how much it helps your writing.

(And if you do join in the fun, let me know so I can stop by and take a look.)


Wendy Roberts said...

What a great idea!

Regina Harvey said...

Great idea! I won't post now but I might have to steal this for my own blog sometime!

B.E. Sanderson said...

Thanks. I can't take any credit for it, though. It was Erica's idea.


Anissa said...

This is a great exercise. I can think off the top of my head at least two times where I have a chapter open with the time of day, etc. I'll add this to the list of things to look for in the final run-through.

P.S. It's so interesting to see a novel this way and to wonder what goes on in between. Very cool!