Hookline Books

About Me

Yvonne Barlow I love books, love reading - who doesn't? I also love to hear what other people think of books - we may agree or disagree, however I love the exchange of ideas. Tell me your thoughts, read our books and tell me what you think.

Showing Tag: " writer" (Show all posts)

What I've learned as a fiction editor - opening lines

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, August 22, 2022,

The beginning

Authors need to set a strong scene in the opening sentence. Debut authors don’t have the luxury of beginning with a long and languorous description, such as a backstory, memory or reflections.

Your opening page needs to give the reader a sense of where, when and what is going on.

And you need to create some sense of dilemma.

Grab the reader as fast as you can and hold onto them.

Place your character in a specific setting (the reader needs to picture them).

Add something...

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What do editors want from new writers?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, February 2, 2022,

We see a lot of manuscripts and sometimes, just sometimes, the opening paragraphs draw you in and immerse in the story almost immediately. When this happens, it is nothing but joy – just as it was in the ancient days of storytelling when the art began with ‘Let me tell you a story,’ or ‘Once upon a time’.

I do not know any editor who would disagree that an easy entry into a story is critical. First and foremost, we are readers, and it is the writers’ job to draw us in. If you do ...

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Listen and learn

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, January 24, 2022,

I love audio books. However, I didn’t start out liking them. In the early days of listening to an 80,000+ plot, my mind would wander to other stories or events before eventually coming back to the novel and I would wonder what had happened while I’d been mentally absent.

However, a few years ago I found my eyes were often tired at the end of the work day, and I started listening to short Podcasts, then moved onto abridged novels on BBC Sounds. Lying on the sofa, eyes closed and listenin...

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A small pebble on a rocky landscape

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, October 18, 2021,

Many manuscripts reach me but few grab my attention so completely as Mission by Paul Forrester-O’Neill. This story, set in the United States, begins with a small boy who overhears his mother tell his father a horrendous lie. The plot follows the boy to adulthood as he tries to make amends to his father.

A boy and his father are separated by an unforgivable lie. Twenty years later they meet, and the dying father tells John of the men who cheated him and the town of Mission that spurned him...

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To give up or to soldier on

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, October 12, 2021,
Mark Billingham said he gives a new book 20 pages. If the story hasn't set up its plot, given him characters worth following and prose he cares about then he tosses it aside. 
Now Mark is a crime writer who knows his craft. The successful crime novelist's books regularly feature in best seller lists and his Thorne novels were turned into a television series. However, he said his wife disagrees with him. Speaking at this year's Cheltenham Literature Festival, he said that she soldiers on throug...
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