As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"

Get Your Crafty Little Hooks in 'em!

Some have asked, "What in the heck is a 'hook' and do I need one?"

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition has 7 definitions for the noun (we won't mess with the verb for this one.) The definition that we are interested in for this answer is 1 b: something intended to attract and ensnare So this is our goal in writing since there are literally over one hundred thousand books out there vying for the reader's attention.
The successful author must become an adept fisher. If you have met or know a fisherman, you very quickly learn that fishing is an art. The goal is not to catch every fish with a single hook on a single cast but several fish over a period of time. And we all know how fishing stories are all about the biggest fish and the one that got away.
In writing, our goal is to hook the reader, or fish, not once but over and over again. The more often, the better because not only with the fish come back to your fishing hole or book, but he/she will bring friends. We like friends, they buy more books.
(Me, wiggling my brows like the villain in the old silent movies.)
A 'hook', according to yours truly, is that single sentence that catapults the reader into a frenzy of unanswered questions. This is the 'sweet spot', but beware--you, the author, had better be prepared to answer the myriad of questions with a wide net. Don't run scared here. You have the tools, a vivid imagination and hopefully a plot, even if you are, like me, the occasional 'panster.'
I try to weave one of these 'hooks' into the end of almost all of my chapters. They can be as short as: I was pretty crazy. Which engenders the questions like:  Crazy stupid or crazy young or crazy in love or a few other crazies. What does she mean crazy? Crazy how?
On the other hand, the 'hook' can be a bit longer. As in: "It's taken care of, most of it anyway. Let's step into the hallway." Thus the questions hit a wider spectrum. What is 'it'? Taken care of, how? Most of it, what part wasn't? Why do they need to step into the hallway?
The tricky part of a hook is answering these questions in a believable way and without the dreaded INFO DUMP. Did I say that? Yep. But this is a topic for another day.
Let's return to how to handle the 'hook'. In a previous post we see that we are ending a chapter with a hook, but does it have to be the very last sentence(s) of the chapter? No, BUT it is recommended that the chapter end within one hundred (100) words of the 'hook'. Any more than that and the author risks losing the impact of the 'hook.' After all, the 'hook' is a tool used by authors to create that illusive 'page-turner.'
If you are a reader, you're reading this going 'so what?' I love this author and the way he/she writes. He/She never uses these things you call 'hooks.'
Oh contraire my dear friend. Maybe this tool is used so expertly you haven't noticed why you feel compelled to turn the page or buy the next book in the series.

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