Writing: the hook

We all find our Muse in different ways. For me, it is the hook. Some little thing that sticks in the mind like that tune you just can’t get out of your head. An image, an event, an encounter–all kinds of items.

Other day, I was standing in my kitchen joking around with family and Christopher Robin cropped up, and his poem, Disobedience:

James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree
Took great Care of his Mother, Though he was only three.
James James Said to his Mother, “Mother,” he said, said he;
“You must never go down to the end of the town, if you don’t go down with me.”

Charming little boy, charming poem. But it masks a real terror of a small child who somehow senses he could lose his mother. Not so charming: it happened.

Next in this (unusual) personal blog, shortly after, I was walking around local lake when one of our party vanished around fork in the road. Another party member said that the person had taken  the lower road, not the upper one. We did not believe. We were wrong. Person had scooted around corner to gather a native root for our woods.

After completing The Lost Legend few days ago, I resolved that it would be my last book, that now I could play and I have lots of “play” lined up. But the hook tweaked inside my mind, fortified by that lake walk and so this morning–just now–I opened Word and found myself back on the treadmill. No prior conscious thought, reflectlion, or intent. Quite the opposite.

Result? I’ve just finished a draft of Chapter 1 of another book. I share this rough draft with you now. Please feel free to comment or ask questions–they have certainly been raised already I am glad to say!

Chapter One.


Ryan plodded along the gravel track. He was hot. His feet hurt.
He was eight.
He eyed his sisters ahead of him. Giggling, noisy, lurching all over the road.
Ahead of them, his mother strode along, eyes front, as though they were not there.
To his left, the lake, a dammed up river, really. The first rays of hot sun burned its surface, morning mist writhing and curling as though in pain.
He didn’t want to walk.
Didn’t want to get left behind.
Why Deb and Cassie had come he had no idea. It wasn’t to be with their mother.
Directly ahead, the track split. Left to carry on around the lake,  tracing the lake’s fingers. Right to curl up a steep hill, its left side a cliff overhanging the lower track.
The left track walk to the end of the lake was five miles long there and back.
The hill track round and back home was three.
They always took the hill.
Distant hammering came across the water.
The far shore was all huge estates, owned by old, wealthy families. Even at that early hour someone was making their boathouse even bigger. He glanced across and back again.
Just in time to see their mother disappearing around the bend.
For a second, he stood, frozen. Then panic struck.
He started forward. “Hey!”
His sisters stopped fooling, turned.
He raced past them, and around the bend. Then the next. And the next. There the track straightened some, enough to see a way ahead.
No Mam.
His sisters had stopped at the foot of the hill.
“What’s up little bro?”
He could hardly breathe. “Mam’s gone!”
They glanced to the bend, then up the slope.
“Don’t be silly,” Cassie said. “She went ahead is all. Come on, race you to catch her up.”
Ryan shook his head.
“She went that way, I tell you. I saw!”
Deb took his arm, pulled him towards the upward track.
“Nuh-uh. We never walk that way. Let’s go!”
Ryan followed them up the hill, walking close by the cliff edge that overlooked the lakeside fork, vainly peering down. Maybe she had gone to pick a flower. She often did that along the way. By the time she got it home it would be almost dead but she’d stick it in a glass of water, anyhow, and set it on the table.
With each step on that homeward way, Ryan got more scared.
No Mam.
Not on that track. Not all the way home.
Ryan raced ahead, shot through the front door, ran into the kitchen.
No reply. He ran upstairs. Not in her room. Not in the bathroom.
Not anywhere.
“Well,” Deb said, looking around the living room. “Whaddyaknow.”
“I was right,” he said. “She went straight, I saw.”
“Well, if you just missed her, what’s the big deal? Maybe she wanted to go the long walk this time. And she’s way too fast for you, Slowpoke. Chill out. She’ll show when she’s done.”
Ryan didn’t answer. What would be the use?
He just knew.
His worst dread had come to pass:
She had left them.

It is draft and chapter 1 often ends up as chapter 6 but it happened and for once I share. As to what happens next, your guess is good as mine.




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