Archive for October, 2009

Writing Books for Writers | Hooked by Les Edgerton

My copy of this is a smallish paperback that has a blue cover with a picture of a goldfish. A quick glimpse of this on a book shelf and you might think it is about pisciculture of some form, unless of course you read the subtitle: “write fiction that grabs readers at page one and never lets them go.”

I admit to being hesitant about buying this book. I had little faith that a book with a goldfish cover would be serious enough to do my fiction writing any good. I soon found out that writing great fiction is what this book is about.

There is no doubt that Edgerton discusses how to craft great opening hooks, in fact a major portion of the book is dedicated to it. But, the best hook in the world won’t help if the story behind it fails. To help us prevent that, Edgerton spends a good amount of time explaining a story telling system that includes two concepts, the “story worthy problem,” and the “surface problem.”

My own observations tend to agree with Edgerton’s that many beginners miss the existence of the story worthy problem and instead only write about surface problems, which makes for flat stories without depth or dimension. The insight that Edgerton gives should help many avoid that flat-story issue entirely.