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Contest! Hooks for Books

Photobucket [1]One of the perks of running this community is occasionally a post will yield unexpected benefits, and that is exactly what happened when valued contributor Sophie Masson posted about her love of Mary Stewart [2].

Well, the Internet is a wonderful thing. Word of our collective support for Mary Stewart reached UK publisher Hodder & Stoughton [3]. They had just reissued Mary’s classic suspense novels in brand new jackets–beautifully vintage and very contemporary–and were hoping to find a new audience for her brilliant works [4]. They offered books in exchange for a shout-out, and this contest was born.

What sort of contest?

Since Mary Stewart was the queen of the hook, we thought it would be fun if our brilliant WU community members took a stab at writing their best Mary Stewart-esque hook–meaning you hook us in one sentence.

Stewart excelled at posing the why question in the first sentence of her novels, and from this one sentence, a whole story would unfold, chased by an eager reader to discover the answer.

To get you started here are a few examples from some of her most popular novels:

This Rough Magic:

“And if it’s a boy,” said Phyllida cheerfully, “we’ll call him Prospero.”

The Gabriel Hounds:

I met him in the street call Straight.

Nine Coaches Waiting:

I was thankful that nobody was there to meet me at the airport.

What will I win if my hook is the best?


Madam, Will You Talk? [5]
Wildfire at Midnight [6]
Thunder on the Right [7]
Nine Coaches Waiting [8]
My Brother Michael [9]
The Ivy Tree [10]
The Moonspinners [11]
This Rough Magic [12]
Airs Above the Ground [13]
The Gabriel Hounds [14]
Touch Not the Cat [15]
Thornyhold [16]
Stormy Petrel [17]
Rose Cottage [18]

Is there any fine print?

Yes. The contest is restricted to those living in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Hooks longer than one sentence will be disqualified.

When will the contest end?

One week from today, on April 30th at midnight EST.

How do I enter?

Post your one-sentence hook in the comment section below. Enter as often as you’d like. And please take the time to “like” hooks of others that you enjoy. Good luck!

About [19]

Writer Unboxed began as a collaboration between Therese Walsh [20] and Kathleen Bolton [21] in 2006. Since then the site has grown to include ~50 regular contributors--including bestselling authors and industry leaders--and frequent guests. In 2014, the first Writer Unboxed UnConference (part UNtraditional conference, part intensive craft event, part networking affair) [22] was held in Salem, MA. Learn more about our 2019 event, ESCAPE TO WuNDERLAND, on Eventbrite. [23] In 2016, the Writer Unboxed team published a book with Writer's Digest. AUTHOR IN PROGRESS: A No-Holds-Barred Guide to What It Really Takes to Get Published [24] has been well-received by readers who seek help in overcoming the hurdles faced at every step of the novel-writing process--from setting goals, researching, and drafting to giving and receiving critiques, polishing prose, and seeking publication. James Scott Bell has said of the guide, "Nourishment for the writer's soul and motivation for the writer's heart." You can follow Writer Unboxed on Twitter [25], and join our thriving Facebook community [26].