You’ve heard of writing prompts, now we have revision prompts! Each prompt will give you a specific writing issue to check for in your WIP, along with tips on how to fix each. Going through this process one issue at a time will not only help polish your current novel but will also teach you specific ways to improve your writing for your next story.
THE HOOK: The first paragraph or two, which should be so enticing that the reader must continue reading to find out what happens.
EVALUATION 1) Does the first paragraph include tension? OR Does it include a burning question?
2) Does it show enough of a setting that the reader isn’t lost or confused?
3) Does it lead seamlessly to what happens next?
These are necessary ingredients for a hook that will draw the reader in without confusing him. If you have these elements, you’re well on your way to an effective hook.
1) Is the first paragraph mostly description?
2) Is the action episodic–everyday type of action that includes no tension, conflict, or burning question?
This type of information/action rarely draws the reader in to the point that she just has to flip the page to find out what happens next. Look back at the elements listed in Evaluation 1, and create a way to introduce your story that will make the reader curious enough to flip to the next page.
1) Is the first paragraph the introduction to a dream?
2) Does the first paragraph introduce characters or action that are unimportant to the rest of the story?
When these techniques are used, the story itself isn’t truly introduced. They may convince the reader to keep reading until the beginning scene is done, but when the dream ends or the emphasis shifts from the focus on the extraneous excitement, the reader is often let down when he realizes that what hooked him isn’t really what the story is about. Then you have to hook the reader again, this time on the main character and the real story. You would be better off to hook the reader on the main story first. Then when the dream or minor characters are introduced, it will mean more to the readers because the connection to the story is more obvious
One of the keys to publication is a willingness to learn. We hope our Revising Prompts will help you learn more about the craft of writing and speed you on your way to publication.