It’s generally bad writing to stretch a metaphor too far, but in this case, I’m going to do it anyway. When I say fishing and writing depend on the same thing I mean, no matter how good the bait, you need to have a really good hook.
Baiting the hook
So, since we’re going with the stretched metaphor theme, let’s take it to the limit.
As a reader myself, I will often scan new books for something interesting. Something that will make me shell out some of my hard-earned cash. More importantly, something that will make me commit some of my hard-earned free time.
That means the book needs to attract me with something shiny. Or tasty. Or attractive. The bait, so to speak.
Properly baited, the book (or hook) will get me to sample.
Setting the hook
Now, you’ve got your catch interested. It’s looked at the bait and nibbled. Experienced fishermen will tell you that’s not enough. You need a full-fledged bite. Only then can you “set” the hook, truly securing your ability to reel in the target.
It’s exactly the same in writing. Especially now with online retailers offering “sample” chapters for potential readers to try out prior to actually spending money. It’s the virtual equivalent to standing around in the book store scanning a chapter or two while deciding.
Landing the catch
So, you finally entice the full-fledged bite and have set the hook. Now it’s time to reel your target in. At this point, you’re feeling pretty good about your chances. Still, occasionally, stuff happens and the target slips away.
Ditto in writing. How many times has a potential reader been convinced to try/buy a book only for them lose interest at some point along the way?
That’s long past the hook metaphor and now into skill – as a fisherman or a writer. The parallels are quite compelling.
Where I went wrong last time
Almost a year ago, I put up a blog post with some proposed text for the next book in my Jeremy Shuttle Adventures.
It was to be the start of the next trilogy, advancing the story several years after the initial ending in What Now?
The problem was, I wrote it without a hook. It continued the story, but it didn’t have “that” thing behind it to make it interesting to readers. More importantly, it didn’t interest me.
I never wrote another chapter.
That was then, this is still then
A few weeks ago, right about the time I started walking again, the hook came to me. That unique idea that made the thread of writing those characters again appeal to me.
Yes, I always had imaginative ideas what to do with Jeremy and his circle. But the “why” had always eluded me. Why would Jeremy once again risk using the sketchbook when his life was so good now? Why would Natalie or his parents agree to allow him?
I think I’ve got that figured out now. It’s pretty complex and I’m nervous I can’t pull it off, but it’s a good nervous. A motivating nervous.
Just writing blah blah stuff about the same characters would be fun for a day or two. Writing a story revolving around a challenging concept and making it work? That’s exciting.
Fishing and writing depend on the same thing
It’s not my next project. I’ve already let you in on what that is. You can read more about that idea in tomorrow’s blog.
But, What More? is coming. Jeremy, Natalie, William, Teresa and others both new and familiar will be back. And there will be more strange and weird stuff along the way. None of which is what put the story back on my radar.
No, the trilogy will happen now because I remembered that fishing and writing depend on the same thing. And I have the hook I need to reel you in.