, 10 tweets, 2 min read
#writer and #amquerying folk, I wish you could hear how editors talk about their books at lunches and in-person meetings. I think it would be such an education for authors looking to generate compelling ideas.
Editors describing their books often start with a compelling detail. She's a roller-derby all star, or his best friend is his hairless cat. Instantly there's something different or unusual to pull you in, snag your interest.
Then there's a layer of conflict. She's got to save her mom's holistic pottery center (another place for unique detail), or he's finding first love against the backdrop of the Challenger shuttle disaster.
Then there's almost always a third layer, the thing that happens as the story unfolds. She meets her idol who turns out to be her enemy, he gets expelled for something his brother did, etc. etc.
The point is, you'll notice that published books often have interesting details and "hooks" stacked on top of each other. There are multiple ins to the story, multiple elements that can potentially pull in a reader.
The reaction is, "Oh wow that's cool. Hey that's even cooler! And THAT happens too!?"
So I think the takeaway here is, when building your story world, first, get creative and specific with your details. Instead of working at a generic restaurant, your hero is an entertainer at an off-brand Discovery Zone and has to dress as a giant frog (how embarrassing!)
Second, see if it's possible to layer your "hooks," giving your manuscript multiple points of interest for the reader browsing their local bookstore. One way to do this is combining pre-existing ideas...
That romcom about the typewriter repairman? Why not combine it with the detective story you've been toying with. Now you've got a mystery-rom-com about a typewriter repairman who falls in love with the prime suspect against the backdrop of the space race. Layered concepts.
Anyway, recent editor meetings have me thinking about layering hooks in this way. It can be tricky to stand out in the crowded market, but building in eccentric and memorable details, as well as combining story-concepts, can help your work stand out.
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