Does this hook make you want to read the story?
|EXERCISE SEVEN write a new opening (Hook) sentence or two starting at the point just after the paragraphs you CUT earlier.
Post the old opening paragraphs and your new opening paragraph in one static item in your Reeling in Your Readers folder in your own portfolio.
NEW HOOK LINE OPENING PARAGRAPHS
Fourteen degrees below zero again. The frigidness felt white. Vast icy, white, snow encased objects decorated the landscape in undulating uneven mounds. She could not hate this mirror image of the state of her heart. Father Mike said she was obligated to try to function for the sake of the children. Sometimes she could muster up enough spirit to hate Father Mike for telling her what to do. This was not one of those days. The snap of the cold helped assuage the sorrow. She tried to be grateful that she had a job, a home, her kids. Father Mike should be proud of her for trying. You would think. At least running late allowed her brain to focus and release the many things that usually vied for her attention. It also meant that her heart beat faster, her breath would push in and out with frosty wisps, and sweat would leave her t-shirt plastered against her torso. The sorrow kept the feelings firmly encased out of reach. The sweaty t-shirt was her trophy that her heart still worked.
Kristin picked up speed to get into the freeway traffic. This doesn’t feel right sifted into her thoughts. A soft curse introduced the loud pop and the telltale flapping of the rubber spinning its way off the tire rim. She managed to tug the steering wheel enough and bring the vehicle to a lopsided stop. She stared out the windshield listening to the quiet hum of the traffic rushing by. Should she get out and check when she already knew what happened? Father Mike would be so proud of her for not losing her temper. This blowout presented a problem. Kristin’s mittens got stuck on the keyring. A tear leaked out as she fumbled with the picture of her kids’ smiling faces on the key fob. Kristin barely noticed that the heat in the vehicle was slowly being replaced by the cold air drifting in from the vents. A quick exhale and absorbing the tear in her mitten was enough to bring her out of her reverie.
OLD HOOK LINE OPENING PARAGRAPH
She heard that sound only once before. The telltale flapping of the rubber spinning it’s way off the tire rim. The only thought that drifted across her brain as she tugged on the steering wheel to pull over to stop the vehicle, was that she would be late. She managed to get the vehicle to a lopsided stop. Why did it have to be so blasted cold? Then again did she care? She thought of her options only for a moment before pulling the keys to gaze upon the smiling faces in the photos. Kristin barely noticed that the heat in the vehicle was slowly being replaced by the cold air drifting in from the vents. She should call her roadside assistance company, but what did it matter?
That hurt. She slammed her head against the headrest again. And again. Raising and dropping her head in rhythmic cadence, over and over. Pain seemed to be the only thing that got through the numbness.
Include a flashback and one other method of inserting backstory into this piece.
Kristin stood at the grave marker gently dusting the layer of snow off the rounded stone and off the etched lettering for Anthony Lanny Ross. “You picked a fine time to leave me, Tony. I can’t be mad at you. I should. I really should. Just love you so much, man. Do you remember how we met? The baseball game?”
Her father raised his four daughters to be athletic powerhouses, determined to win. Kristin was the best player on her high school team, and the only girl. It was either keep up with the boys’ baseball team or suffer with the twitters on the track and field girls’ team.
As she ambled up to take her turn at bat, she surveyed the field. She could hear the buzz and taunts from the opposing team bench. She picked her target. The right fielder was the loudest and would be on the receiving end of her practiced delivery.
Kristin watched with inner delight when the pitcher's smile slowly faded as she stepped over the plate to hit left handed instead of right as he expected. Any serious player knows baseball is rigged for southpaws, especially when the pitcher is right-handed. Kristin took an instant dislike to the pitcher. Just by the smirk on his face, Kristin wanted the next hit to drive the ball does his throat.
“Ball two!” This pitcher was going to walk her. She was not very good with trash talk, but she had to try.
“Come on, Bad Boy. Didn’t your papa teach you to pitch?” Well, it got a good laugh if nothing else.
Up to this point, he was going low and outside. If his pattern held, the next one would be a fast ball, high and inside. Kristin knew the second he drew his right hand back that he would instead deliver a stunning curve ball. She stepped in and put all of her weight into the swing. The crack of the bat connecting with the ball was enough to silence the jokers on the opposing team. She could still feel the vibrations up and down her arms as she rounded the bases. She could have been nice, but she didn’t want to. She did not just cross home plate – she jumped on it and did her happy dance on it.
The catcher was standing back waiting for the ball to be thrown in. “Congrats. Nice hit.”
The cold was starting to penetrate Kristin’s focus. She stomped her feet to get the blood circulating again. Her voice husky from her stuffed up nose and sniffles that drifted into her comments. “Do you remember that, Tony? Do you remember congratulating me after my home run? Do you remember the teasing we got from both schools? Do you remember I had to chase you down in Germany? Do you remember? Dang it, Tony, why did you have to go?”
Maybe one day these visits would not hurt so much. Maybe one day she would not be magnetically pulled to the peaceful solitude of this cemetery where Tony was laid to rest. Maybe.