Inner Sanctum by Darlene Oakley

Hooked by Page 5

How important is it to hook your reader?

Inner Sanctum by Darlene Oakley

INNER SANCTUM by Darlene Oakley-The town of Egerton has a sinister secret, one that is causing all sorts of unrest and fear. Most are content to die there, most with the exception of Aurora Cassle. Will she be successful in leading the town to freedom? Will she be able to reach the surface and find what she needs?

Well, if we didn’t hook our reader, why would they bother to read our book?

True, every reader gives every author a few pages of “trust” where the reader will trust the author to lure them into the story with something that will HOOK them, hold their interest, keep them turning the page, every page, to find out what happens next.

But where does that hook come from?

Some say page one. And they’d be absolutely correct. But that page one can be more subtle. It can be excellent writing, or an interesting scene, or snappy dialogue or a million little things on page one. Doesn’t always have to be flash bang.

But if you haven’t hook your reader (and ergo your editor first, right?) by PAGE 5, then you’ve failed, totally, absolutely, positively, failed.

Doomsday you say? Yes, maybe. But who, in this day and age, has the time not to be hooked by page five?

I just got a new book by a writer, I dare say she’s new because I’ve known her online at my Writing & Publishing Yahoogroup that’s been around about 15 years at least at this writing, and she’s been writing and editing for many, many years. Her book is a lot of fun and I’m excited to have it in my grubby hands and able to READ it, physically read it.

And I’m so happy to say, she not only had me interested in the scenery and characters from page one, she got me HOOKED by PAGE 5, EXACTLY. How cool is that?

Her book, Inner Sanctum, is a fun, well-written novel. One you could learn from. Does it have errors? A few, but very, very minor. I’ve seen multi-bestselling authors with more glaring errors, seriously. Often, they are copyeditng errors and often not something we have much control over.

So go buy this book! Study it. Then go  use what you learned and go write your own. :)



Naming short stories

I'm just sayin'

“I’m just sayin’ …” :) Me in The Hague, Netherlands, Nov. 2009, teaching a workshop on Urban Fantasy

How do you name your short stories? (or novels?)

Sometimes, I have the title before I have the story. More often than not, the title eludes me until I’ve written it, rewritten it, and had it critted a few times. I have to get others’ feedback and then digest the why and how and what the heck did I mean when I wrote that.

Take this one short (well not so short) story that I named after the two main characters, Oleya and Joeran. It seems perfectly fine to me. But I know the story and the characters. The title, however, doesn’t really draw in the reader. Any odd reader might look at that title and think, so what? Who cares?

So I have to ask myself, what is this story about? Love? Yes. Devotion? Yes. Loyalty? Yes. Duty? Yes. As well as cultural norms, clashes, war, change, annihilation of a species.

Do I have an answer to this one? Nope. I’m still working on it as I re-edit/re-work this not-so-short story. I’d love to hear your ideas.