Tag Archives: author

Writing a Hook Line for Your Novel

Its All In the HookI was seated at my local Starbucks coffee house the other day and fell into conversation with an artist. I was asked, as our conversation went on, “So what is your novel about?” I started to think about all the threads that run through my current novel and was at loss for words. This is a common enough question that I will face as an author and it is one that should be addressed even before a novel is finished. What I needed was a one or two sentence summary of what my story is about, one that is designed to capture the interest of a reader or listener. It is known as a “hook line” and beyond its use in conversation, it also serves as a pairing with the book cover in online catalogs to entice readers to buy your book.

What are the Elements of a Hook Line?

    Characters – Who is the main character of your story? What does that main character want? What is his/her main goal?
    Conflict – Who is the antagonist of the story? How does this villain stand in the way of the main character obtaining their goal?
    Originality – What makes your book different from others? What is the unique element of your story that makes it stand out?
    Setting – State the location, the time period or perhaps the genre if it is not obvious.
    Action – Your hook line needs to have an action that catches the reader’s attention. A little detail can go a long way.

Examples of Good Hook lines from movies, also known as Loglines:

BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (Clint Eastwood, 1995) – An Iowa housewife, stuck in her routine, must choose between true romance and the needs of her family.

FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (Sergio Leone, 1965) – A man with no name and a man with a mission hunt a Mexican bandit for different reasons.

MIDNIGHT COWBOY (John Schlesinger, 1969) – Naïve Joe Buck arrives in New York City to make his fortune as a hustler, but soon strikes up an unlikely friendship with the first scoundrel he falls prey to.

LONE STAR (John Sayles, 1996) – A small town Texas sheriff, despite warnings not to, investigates a convoluted case, when a brutal predecessors’ remains turn up 40 years after he was supposedly run out of town.

What are some common elements in these compelling loglines from famous movies? First, they mention the main character in some way. The main character is the star of the movie or the novel and needs to be someone that the reader can be interested in or they will not read the book. You do not always need to mention this character by name, but rather find a way to describe them to make them stand out as unique in the reader’s mind. Next, notice that in the examples, the location of the story is mentioned: Iowa, Mexico, Texas, or New York City. This helps to give the reader an idea of where or when this story takes place. Observe that the conflict that the main character will face is hinted at. A housewife must choose, a man hunts a bandit, an innocent man becomes a friend of a scoundrel, or a sheriff investigates a murder. This is exciting action. Hopefully enough of a conflict to interest a potential reader. Finally, an element of originality should be offered. This helps to off-set your hook line in the book catalog from all hundreds of other offerings in the book store.

The next time I am at the coffeehouse and someone asks me what my novel is about, I might answer this:

Alice dreams of romance, and when her handsome prince arrives, she follows him through the looking glass into a world of Victorian steam-powered engines, a mad queen, an assassin, and a charming rogue. Will she have the courage to be the heroine that Wonderland needs and find her heart’s desire?

What will be your answer?

Author Interview: Shidorr Myirck-Gayer

One of the pleasures of the author interview series on No Wasted Ink is the chance to meet and learn about new authors and what motivated them to begin writing. I hope you’ll find Shidorr’s story as interesting as I did.

Author Shidorr Myirck-GayerHello, my name is Shidorr Myirck-Gayer. I currently live in the North Suburbs of the Chicago land area. I grew up in Chicago with the
dream of becoming an actress. I performed in a few plays and was an extra in a few movies, one such as Spiderman 2. It was an amazing experience. Sadly I never made it any further; life got in the way… I guess. In the middle of pursuing my dream as an actress, I wrote poetry and stories. At the time, I didn’t realize that writing is where my true journey rests. I have always been interested in the world of creating tales. Pulling people in my fictional fantasies.

When and why did you begin writing?

The tragedy that consumed me ultimately pushed me into the society of published authors. Depression made me write my first novel. Her Name
is Grace
. In 2010 I had lost another child in the early months of my pregnancy. Writing was my way of dealing with my sadness.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I first considered myself as a writer, when I became published. I didn’t think the work I created counted until now.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I must say, I had to laugh a little bit at this question. Every time someone asks me what my book is about. I can never shorten it enough,
for a quick answer. Okay, here goes…

My story is about a young girl named Grace, who grows up on a planet that’s inhabited by angels. Her and her best friend, Max, is being
trained to one day become angels themselves. The angels on the planet Mahlai hope that increasing their numbers can end the slavery war on
Earth. They also have to defend their planet against the dark angels who seek to kidnap the trainees and destroy the world of men. In this
tale Grace and Max finds discovers a powerful tool that the angels use to watch over the humans. This tool changes Grace and Max
personalities. Grace falls in love with a human and Max takes a turn for the worst.

What inspired you to write this book?

My husband’s support helped me achieve my goal of finishing the first book, of a 3 book series.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t really have a writing style. I can confirm that no matter how hard I try. I can’t write the book in order. I always start on a mid
chapter first.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

I just love the name, Grace. I had a cat named that once.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There is no message; I just want my readers to live in a world unlike their own.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I must say, I create my characters based on people that I know and books that I have read. For example, I have quotes from the bible and
my angels are lightly based on angels of the bible. Author Kristin Cashore depicts strong female characters in her novels and I love
that. The backdrop of my stories comes from my travels and my daydreams.

What authors have most influenced your life?

My favorite Authors are, Kristin Cashore, Suzanne Collins and John of the bible.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor?

If I had to choose a mentor, it would be Kristin Cashore. Meeting her
in person confirms that.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

My cover designer is John Konecny. He is an amazing artist, easy to work with and he understands what you want.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

The advice that I would give is the advice that is said over and over
again to writers, KEEP WRITING! This really does help you when you
think your work is not good enough. When you get writers block and
especially when you began to doubt yourself.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

To all my readers, Thank You for your support and I’ll try my best to
make the next book an even better adventure!

Her Name is Grace - book coverShidoor Myinck-Gayer
Her Name is Grace

Book Cover by John Konecny.

Author Interview: Rosemary Lynch

Sometimes the cover art of a book catches the eye and it was certainly the case with me when I first saw Rose’s novel. After we chatted for a time on twitter, I invited her here to No Wasted Ink for an interview.

Author Rosemary LynchHi my name is Rosemary Lynch (Rose). I was born on 14th August 1970 in Merton, England. I am married to Paul, have three lovely children. Charlotte, Melissa and Jake. Two dogs, Max and Arweyn, one cat Maggie, three chickens Bluebell, Lavender and Meadow. I write epic fantasy. My first book Kainan, is a magical romantic adventure. The first book in the Deragan Sword Trilogy. The second book, ‘Meladrom’ is out on the 14th August this year and the conclusion book three, ‘Annalise’ is due out Decemer 2012. I love to write and I love art, especially painting in acrylic. I love to paint dragons!

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing in May 2009, whilst off work due to an injury.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When Kainan was read for the first time last year. Up to then it had been my private hobby. I was nagged by colleagues at work to let them read it, so I had ten proof books printed. I was overwhelmed by the response so I decided I would have Kainan published.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

Kainan is a magical romantic adventure fantasy. It is the story of a young man whose life is dramatically changed overnight when his village is attacked by the evil Gozars. He is forced into stealing a magical crystal from the world of Malgar, which unbenown to him, is the lifeforce of their world. Left for dead by the Gorzars, his life is saved by a young groundling woman, Arweyn. Together they discover the truth about his heritage and set in play an ancient prophecy. They head out on a quest to return the Ardor Crystal to the world of Malgar and stop the return of the Gorzar Empire. Along the way they face treachery, many mystical creatures, and fall in love.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had a dream and that dream was my first book ‘Kainan’. It all started from there and I haven’t stopped since.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I like to write quite fast paced with lots of action.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

This book had many titles before I settled on Kainan, as did the hero’s name. I wanted a strong, stand alone title. I discovered the name Kainan and as soon as I heard it, I knew immediately that it fitted his character perfectly.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Never to give up hope. Even when life is at rock bottom.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I think there is probably some of my husband within Kainan’s character! His querky sense of humour and practical jokes for a start!

What authors have most influenced your life?

When I was young it was Enid Blyton, I spent hours in one of her books, sat up a tree in the garden. Now I love Terry Brooks, and Terry Goodkind.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor?

Terry Brooks

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Aidana Willow Raven. I sent out a tweet saying I was looking for an illustrator. She contacted me and the minute I saw her work I new she was the one to produce my cover. Her work is amazing.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just follow your heart and enjoy what you do. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Firstly I want to thank them for buying my book! I love Kainan, even though I have written it, I still enjoy reading it! It is an easy book to read, and it takes you right into their world. You feel their pain, their passion, their drive. You find yourself wanting to turn the next page to see what happens to them.

Deragan Sword Prophecy - Kainan book coverRosemary Lynch
Wiltshire, England. UK

Illustrator: Aidana Willow Raven


Writing Space: Wendy Van Camp

As the creator of No Wasted Ink, I often take a back seat and feature other writers here on the blog. After all, it is rather difficult to interview oneself! I thought that instead I might do a writing space post to give you all a glimpse of where the posts of this blog are created.

“Intrepid” Young Filmmaker Wendy Van Camp with her Super 8 Camera
I’ve always been a writer and a storyteller, although I haven’t always told my stories with words. I wrote my first novel at the tender age of four years, all handwritten on wide ruled school paper in child’s scrawl. All three revisions of it! I still keep it as a memento, but it is locked away where no one can see. My second novel was written during my mid-teen years on a broken Selectric typewriter. The carrier return had to be pushed with my right hand while I typed with my left. I clearly remember the scent of whiteout and being painstakingly careful about typos as I wrote. I did several revisions of this novel over a two or three year time span and learned to type as fast with just my left hand as with both. For some reason, my parents never saw fit to fix the typewriter for me.

In college I discovered filmmaking and shifted my focus from the written word to telling stories with a script and a camera. I remained happy with this medium for a good fifteen years of my life. I’ve produced and directed feature length projects, more talk shows than I can remember, parades, city council meetings, and toy commercials. As time went on, I developed a small artisan jewelry business and gradually, as television and film work moved overseas, I focused more on creating beautiful items for women to wear and learned to love the freedom that the lifestyle of an artist offers. I did not return to writing stories seriously until 2010 when the idea for a novel burst into my mind and would not let me go. I have been writing novels, articles and short stories ever since. No Wasted Ink was started New Year’s Day 2012 and is now my writing home on the web.

Wendy Van Camp's Writing Space and Studio
Wendy Van Camp’s Writing Space and Studio
These days, I have a dedicated writing space in my home. No more broken Selectric typewriter on the kitchen table for me! A room in my house is my “creative studio” with a lovely view of our lemon tree and my rose garden just outside the window. Here you will find my jeweler’s bench, workbench, shelves of supplies, a comfortable plush chair to relax in, and my trusty desktop computer and desk. I write most of the short fiction, articles and the blog posts on the desktop using my Scrivener program. The large monitor is an asset to me as it allows me to blow up the text large enough to be seen even with my aging eyesight. I love my studio and spend most of my day there, either working on jewelry to create stock for my jewelry business, writing or just enjoying the Internet during my off time. My dog has a certain spot behind my chair and she keeps me company during the day. So far, the hammering, sawing, or intense concentration to my computer doesn’t bother her. That is loyalty.

Alphasmart Neo and Samsonite Shuttle Case
Alphasmart Neo
I use other tools in my writing. An Alphasmart Neo is my drafting machine of choice and you will see me with it out in the coffeehouses when I am drafting a new story. The small screen and distraction free writing helps me focus on my work. I credit using the Alphasmart for helping me win the 50K goal at NaNoWriMo for the first time. When I need research information I refer to my filofax writing binder where I keep character sketches, notes and other information about my novel, or in a pinch I will call up information on my ipod touch. I also use a NEC Mobilepro 900 that I have souped up by flashing it with upgraded software. It is what I use for revisions since it allows me to see more of the text than the Neo.

Blog Organization with Scrivener

Scriverner ScreenshotScrivener is my writing program of choice. I started using it during the 2010 NaNoWriMo and I credit it with part of the reason that I made my writing goal that year. The company that developed the program offers it at 50% discount to all NaNoWriMo winners and I used my coupon to purchase it. I use the program to organize, research and write my novels, compile short stories and to organize my blogs.

For instance, No Wasted Ink has a Scrivener project (file) where I write all the posts for No Wasted Ink. When I write I leave both the binder and the inspector open to view and I have a word count feature set on the bottom of the page. I aim to make most of my posts a certain length and the word count feature helps with this goal. Sometimes I write the draft on my Neo or in my NEC MobilePro 900 and then transfer the text into a scrivener file, but I find Scrivener comfortable to draft short term projects in.

The Binder

The Binder holds my pending articles at the top in no particular order. I work on the book reviews, commentary or memoirs as the mood strikes me. Even if all I have is a vague idea for a blog post, I will title it and leave the file there to remind me of the idea. Sometimes I will leave a short document note in the inspector with details of the idea if the title is not enough to spark my writing. Once the post is completed, I move it into one of the item folders in the draft section depending on the type of article. For instance, all my book reviews will be in a certain folder once completed. This allows me to find them when needed.

The Inspector and Meta-Data

Once a post is begun I mark its status in the inspector on the right hand side of the screen. I will give it a label as to what type of post it is and I will check the status as to where in the process it is. The labels are customizable as to color and name in Scrivener. My labels read: book review, commentary, memoir. Below that is the status of the item. My status can be set first draft, done, and posted.


The only part of Blog planning that I do not do in Scrivener is the scheduling. For that I use a Filofax Crimson Malden leather binder in personal size with a Week on Two Pages insert. As I schedule the blog posts in WordPress, I write the dates into the filofax. I note if I’ve done the twitter marketing tweets for each post and the title of the post. I like keeping this information in the filofax since it has less chance of disappearing due to server crash and I like the feel of paper. I suppose that an electronic organizer such as google calendar would work as well, but I prefer the filofax notebook.


The advantages of using Scrivener to organize a blog is that all the posts stay in one place, yet are separate. The inspector tracks the post as it goes through the various stages of completion. I have a permanent storage of the post in case of blog failure or if I want to publish it elsewhere. It is easy to go back and double check what I have written in the past and what I have planned for the future. I found that I had trouble being this organized when I was using Word. I still own Word and use it, but most of my writing takes place in Scrivener.