Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ding, Round Two: Hook, Line and Sinker

Today begins the second round of the Hook, Line and Sinker contest run by the super kind and energetic Summer Heacock, Kat Ellis, and Dee 'Writes for Apples'. Our Hooks and Lines were judged on whether they might appeal to the needs of the invited agents. Thirty YA entrants were chosen from seventy-five. Also twenty middle grade and twenty adult made the second round.

The exact time the winners of round one would be announced had been leaked on twitter, but I had no way of getting to a computer. As it's Tuesday, and Tuesday is our no special (gym, art, library, music) day, there was no way to escape twenty needy six-year-olds to look over the listings. 1:30 came and went, and I couldn't stop wondering. Curiosity is a terrible thing. It eats at your nerve. I sweated it out and was astonished to see my name. I'm very grateful and relieved to have made the second round. There were many fabulous entries submitted by talented writers. I'm glad to be among them.

Now we get to include our first 250 words from our manuscripts as our Sinkers. Then we'll be re-scrutinized and further cut down to groups of ten per genre with ten extra favorites. That makes a total of forty entries which go into the third round. Then the wonderful and intelligent agents will ... But that's wishful thinking and getting ahead of myself. First things first. The Sinker.

I wanted the Sinker to end with a hook. Something to make readers want to see what happens next. I picked the best hook sentence in my opening page, then pruned a bit until the block of paragraphs fit into the required 250 word limit. My finished rough draft landed on exactly 250. That seems like a good omen.

I call it a rough draft because I'm hoping for suggestions and ways to improve. Please shout out if you there are any typos. If you see a way to tighten the flow, let me know. (Ha, a rhyme ) Anyway, here it is, my Sinker:

Edit: Some changes made.

The magic anklet jangled against Little Bit’s leg with every step, an irritation she couldn’t scratch at the moment. The over-full laundry basket occupied one hand while her other gripped the railing. The wicker handle balanced against her right hip, digging in with each stride. Creaks and shifts came from the wooden stair which wound in a spiral around the outside of the tower. She shuddered and kept her eyes fixed on the treads, careful not to look at the twenty foot drop through the gaps. Why did the tower have to be so high?

At last, she reached the square landing of oak planks. Hidden from prying eyes by the tower, she set down the basket and knelt to hike up her cotton skirt, embroidered with clover and their purple blossoms. A wink of gold glittered in the morning sun. The chain of delicate gold links clasped around her ankle, mocking her with its fragile appearance. Little Bit reached for the anklet, then chewed her lip, but like a sore tooth, she couldn’t resist probing.

She squared her shoulders before taking the chain in either hand, feeling its strange heat burn her fingers. A sting as though a thousand nettles increased with each pulse of her heart.

“Come off!”

The tiny links refused to part.

With a gasp, she released it. Hateful thing. New burns crisscrossed over faded scars to cover her hands. She put sore fingers in her mouth. His magic would never let her go.


  1. This leaves us on a good note to intrigue.

    The only thing I could suggest is a little less description. E.g., third sentence: The heaping laundry basket occupied...railing. The handle dug into her right hip as she climbed the wooden stair that spiraled round the outside of the tower.

    And here: ...to hike her embroidered skirt (I don't think she'd be thinking about the clover and purple blossoms on it so it takes us out of her POV for an instant) up to her knees.

    Nice start!

  2. I like it. I agree with Cheryl's suggestion to eliminate the extra description of the dress - it doesn't seem necessary. That aside, I love it! Good luck!

  3. Thanks, ladies. Great advice. I'll be cutting back on the laundry basket describing. Not so sure yet about the dress. The dress description is a dropped clue to her identify. I'd like to hold on to it, but I'll sleep on it.

  4. I liked the changes. I did get snagged up on the description of the dress. I had to reread it a few times because it tripped up the flow of the narrative. Maybe add the foreshadowing somewhere else. Otherwise, excellent!