My avatar's name is Ava Donja of Silk and Stone.
The other me writes general market romance. I play World of Warcraft. This is where I make two parts of my life merge in sensual fantasy romance novellas.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hook, Line, and Sinker Blogfest

Justin at In My Write Mind is hosting a blogfest today.

Where: In My Write Mind blog, and your own
Objective: Post your 500-1000 word hook and critique other hooks posted by participants

Suggestive topics to consider when critiquing:
  • Does the character have a personality I can fall into easily? This includes any dialogue exchanged.
  • Is the world around them set up to compliment the character as they're introduced?
  • Are there secondary characters to assist with the hook?
  • Lastly, would I read more? 

I'm looking forward to reading everyone's contribution and welcome any comments on mine. Below is the first 500ish words from my work in progress Control (which I hope to have finished by the date this posts).

 She took a sip of her sparkling wine and sighed. Closing her eyes, she let herself enjoy the simple, physical delight in the way the bubbles tickled her tongue, the back of her throat. She needed this time for herself. To feel. To do. For once not to carry the burden of power or have everyone watching and weighing each action.
Tonight she was no one special. Just another mage in a city full of all walks of life. To any onlooker, she would appear as a simple human woman looking to turn off her brain for a few hours. She took another sip. Maybe she should drink something stronger.
The only way to escape her own mind was to be someone else. Instead of her usual elegant and respectable style, she put her body on display in the usual way that women do to get attention. Judging by the drink sent her way, she had done just that.
She remembered to let the smile reach her eyes as she nodded her thanks and took a sip. Sighing, she let the amber liquid roll across her tongue, enjoying the flavor, the warmth. It was too bad the drink had come with the attention of the muscular human male approaching.
He leaned against the bar, cutting into her personal space. “You looked like the type of woman who would appreciate aged port.”
“Do I?” She took another sip and avoided his eyes. It was always disappointing to see the dullness of spirit that so often accompanied attractive men. “And what does that type of woman generally look like?”
She smiled over the rim of her goblet. The man certainly did have nice arms. He would probably be an excellent companion tonight if sexual satisfaction were something that would be soothing. It certainly seemed to be something people enjoyed. She just was not one of those people.
Taking another sip she realized the young man was still talking.
“I prefer Dwarven Stout myself, but beautiful women have more refined taste. I’d bet you could probably teach me a thing or two.”
Ah, he was answering her question, and being suggestive.
“Teach you? About stout, women, or taste?”
He leaned closer, invading her space further. In any other setting she would assume he was trying to intimidate, to control the encounter by forcing her to retreat. But here in the Tavern at the Edge of the World, he was probably trying to create the illusion of intimacy – that is, if he thought about his actions at all.
He abruptly stopped whispering and straightened up, his face blank. She did not have to turn to feel the power pulsing behind her. She had another companion.
He leaned low, closer than the young buck had been. “He ordered the port because it was the special tonight.”
She smiled at the information. “Of course.” She whispered in response.
“I am surprised a woman of your power would waste her time with a talking muscle like that.”
His breath was harsh against her ear, sending a chill down her spine. Was she afraid? How exciting.

Looking forward to your comments!


Justin W. Parente said...

So, this is interesting. Has a few elements that I like. Being that this is fantasy, the first thing that stuck out was this woman being a mage. Second, she doesn't have a name. Good and bad. It can go either way. A name is everything from the start, even if it is a true name or a coded name, like something similar to a title. Last piece of advice and the largest involved the setting. The cliche opening setting is a tavern or inn. I would try to break away from that. Perhaps have her at a party or something, an area more open and not confined to what we expect might happen next in a tavern.

Thanks for sharing!


Amber said...

Hi. I am here to critique :)

Let me say I loved the flow of this front the start! But in the interest of critiquing- here are my suggestions.

I would cut out "Sighing, she let the amber liquid roll across her tongue, enjoying the flavor, the warmth."--since you start of with sighing and tasting the drink, this repeats a picture we've already seen.

"He leaned closer, invading her space further."--I would simply find another word for 'space' because you've already used that.--You could even say something like, "He leaned closer, suffocating her in musk of his after shave and cigar breath."--that still tells the reader he's getting too close, and gives us a bad visual so we want him to back up! :) hehe

But let me say I loved this- loved the writing- and thought the hook was strong!

I liked the sense of confidence of the mc from the start, and as a woman I instantly related to the annoying- cocky guy sending a drink.

The descriptions and movement were wonderfully written and I give this a 4 out of 4! Great characters, loved the setting, and would surely read more.

Great job!

Charity Bradford said...

Your thoughts flow smoothly. It felt a tad repetitive due to those things Amber mentioned, but not enough to stop me from reading. The hook for me was the second guy showing up and using his powers. I would read to find out who he is and what he wants.

Mitch said...

Very intriguing. I like the mix of mundane (attracting guys) and the fantastically very much. The voice got a bit passive at times but overall really cook. I'd have kept reading. Fabulous!

Mitch said...

By cook I meant good. I liked the new mystery dude by the way...

stu said...

It's an interesting setting, which suggests it could go some good places, but this is badly in need of some names, even if they're only descriptive ones.

Amber said...

Yeah, I forgot to mention it, but I agree with the others. The average guy was relatable, but would have gotten boring, then you threw in a new character just in time- mysterious and powerful...great job!

Rena said...

I like the flow of this, but I agree that some names might be nice. Also, I sort of felt lost. I understood that she was someone important, but it would be nice to know what that importance is especially since it would add to the tension of the storyline (as in, it's one thing if a court mage has a night on the town, and another thing entirely when the Magus of Enfernati has a night on the town just before the Ritual of the Slayer, so a little perspective might be nice).

Other than that, good job and I'm definitely curious enough to read on.

Rob Lopez said...

I find myself too relaxed to be hooked and find the scene to be too vague to paint a vivid image. A name for the woman, a description of her dress, and let us know the name of the place far sooner--The Tavern at the Edge of the World IS your hook, or could be, and it shouldn't be in the middle of the twelfth or so paragraph in! Personally, I'm put off by characters that put on airs or that come off as standoffish, posh or unimpressed. However, I do like that the style of the piece is sensual and sexy, though it seems at odds with the idea that she doesn't seem to care for sex, so I'm interested to see how it develops. But in its current form, there's too much mystery and not enough payoff. Of course, it's just the first 500 words or so, but I thrive on details.

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

Interesting beginning. I like her. I like her character and voice so far. I would read on.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm sorry to say that this didn't hook me, and maybe I'm just not your reader.

Your narrator - she struck me as cynical and a little bit frigid. There were bits when she was analyzing the man's reaction and trying to banter that were interesting, but overall I feel like I'd want to see something deeper before I wanted to read further to find out what happened to her - what's important to her, or what can hurt her.

The world - appears to be a big city in a fantasy world, but I'm not sure I can really picture this tavern. (Is it at the end of your world literally, or is that just a marketing ploy?)

The big guy was a little interesting, and the mystery man is mysterious. They both have promise as supporting characters, but you haven't done much with them yet.

Thanks for joining in the blogfest!

Erin Kane Spock said...

Hello again.
I'm not sure how I feel about the characters not having names. On one end, I enjoy the mystery. On the other, it is essential I relate to the mc and already, with a mage, she is outside my scope. Having a name might help. Or not.
I agree with the other posters that the powerful guy at the end was a definite hook. I want to know where this goes.
Just curious, is this a loose translation of that bar in lower city of Shattrath in World of Warcraft?