Friday, May 20, 2011

Thought for the Day

Major tragic events have an impact on us for years to come. Events like the attacks of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, or the recent earthquake in Haiti will be things we never forget and that have changed many forever. However, that doesn't mean they work as a hook for your book. Because of the vast media attention these types of events receive it takes roughly two weeks before we all have fatigue surrounding these events, therefore buying a book in which the primary hook is something we're fatigued over is the last thing many will want to do.

When it comes to fiction, it's okay to make these events part of the story or the character's background, just make sure it isn't the only hook you have.



Dr. Cheryl Carvajal said...

Far better to have a hook which resonates more personally... something that we may not have historically encountered, especially not something that is plastered all over the news, but that resonates with us at a deep level.

Anonymous said...

Yikes. I would personally stay away from these as a hook because by the time the book would get to readers, it is over. However, I think using these horrific events as background, such as "haven't been on a plane since 9/11", could quickly bring a connection between reader and character.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I'm guessing you've been seeing a lot of books that have done exactly this.

Stephen said...

The historic or current news hook can work, if mystery is added to the event in a fictional manner. And if publishing is timely to gain interested readers.

I am completing a 'flash' ebook that shall be current with the plot surrounding the death of Osama Bin Laden, not so much the specific attack, but the plot going with the 'what ifs'. What if there was a 3rd Courier? What if Bin Laden launched an attack operation against the U.S. just as he is killed? And what if the heroes to save America before the anniversary of 9.11 are not Seal Team Six but a reality TV show?
When it comes to the historical hook we have to be reminded of history woven humorously through 'Forrest Gump' or history and fiction within 'Ivanhoe' or the '3 Musketeers'.
Realiate -- Bin Laden's Last Attack on the U.S. (released July, 2011)

Laura said...


Kristin Laughtin said...

Definitely. And if you're writing fiction, you need to remember that even if your book sold the next day, it would still take a year or two to come out. Would that hook still resonate with readers? Or worse, would the way you handle it offend them all (and not in a good, controversy-stirring way that makes people want to read it)? Or is it even possible that more information would come out in the time between writing and release that would contradict facts in your story and make you sound like a moron?

Stephanie Damore said...

Who was it that said, "Good writing isn't timely, it's timeless"? They were right.