Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What's the Hook? How about in Japan? Ireland?

Unless you give me the Mother Fucking Theresa of vampires, there is no hook.

Kidding.

I was watching Hanna over the weekend, and realized it has a great hook--it makes you want to know why this fourteen year old girl, or however old she's supposed to be, is doing in this tundra. Why is she hunting elk? Why is she fighting this guy. Why did she use a bow when she was carrying a pistol?

Why why why why...

So you watch it.

That's what you have to do--make your reader ask why. It can be done with events, as it is in Hanna, or with a single line, as in Frances Pauli's A Moth in Darkness (The dancing would kill her eventually.). Okay, maybe I'm not talking about the traditional definition of a hook, but just anything that draws your reader into your book. If your reader is interested from the very beginning, you hvae them.

I've been reading Miyuke Miyabe's Book of Heroes lately, and that's what the title's all about. It's from Japan, and you can feel that it's different, even as a translation (a very good translation, I might add.). Americans, apparently, aren't willing to wait for a book to hit the action. They want it now. Almost invariably, however, books written as part of another culture flow and take the time it takes to hit the point. Look at Harry Potter. His Dark Materials. Both of those series were written in English originally, and they still meander.

I'm not saying either way is good or bad, but it's a good thing to consider--in those books that don't have the 'American Hook' in the first little bit, how is it that they keep reader interests, even in American readers?

Just a thought,
Voss

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