Get Hooked On Writing!

Issue # 8 Monday, June 29, 1998

This Week's Author:

Shara Rendell-Smock, author Contributing Editor Shara Rendell-Smock has written more than twenty computer software manuals, numerous newspaper articles, including a monthly health column for The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and a weekly column for the Sideroad - "Go to Health! Because Life's Too Short.

She's the author of two books of non-fiction: Getting Hooked: Fiction's Opening Sentences 1950's- 1990's


Living With Big Cats: The Story of Jungle Larry, Safari Jane, and David Tetzlaff

For ordering information, click here.

To read more about these books visit



The Hook

part II of II

Last week we looked at four of the big topics authors draw on to grab your attention (Work. Love. Animals. Money.) This week we skip the intro and get right into some openers stemming from these topics: Family, Justice, The Weather, and Travel. Category key: Mystery (M), Science Fiction (SF), Romance (R), Western (W), and Mainstream (Mn).


" It never pays to resist arrest."Harold Q. Masur, Tall, Dark and Deadly, 1956 (M)

"Theoretically a policeman, like a priest, should be above politics, or at least untouched by party politics, yet it is the policeman who is responsible for enforcing the laws made by the politicians." J.J. Marric, Gideon's Vote, 1964 (M)

"The secret service holds much that is kept secret even from very senior officers in the organization. "Ian Fleming, The Man with the Golden Gun, 1965 (M)

"Amerigo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had so cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her." Mario Puzo, The Godfather, 1969 (Mn)

" If her mind had not been on the case she had won, Katie might not have taken the curve so fast, but the intense satisfaction of the guilty verdict was still absorbing her. "Mary Higgins Clark, The Cradle Will Fall, 1980 (M)

"Jail is not as bad as you might imagine." Anna Quindlen, One True Thing, 1994 (Mn)


"The map under glass made no sense." Nicholas Jose, Avenue of Eternal Peace, 1991 (Mn)

"Right now, Clay Ballard was sorry he had picked up the middle-aged couple with their stalled covered wagon and delicate young blonde who had paid to ride out with them." Bob Jasper, Feud at Sundown, 1951 (W)

"Because he thought that he would have problems taking the child over the border into Canada, he drove south, skirting the cities whenever they came and taking the anonymous freeways which were like a separate country as travel was itself like a separate country." Peter Straub, Ghost Story, 1979 (Mn)

"Wade Mattlock lay on the cold ground wishing he had paid closer attention to the old Indian woman's instructions in Kansas." Johnny Mullins, Wade's Last Gunfight, 1987 (W)


"You can always blame it on the heat." Wade Miller, Kitten With A Whip, 1959 (M)

"One thing about Montana, you could watch rain coming a long way off." Carter Travis Young, The Pocket Hunters, 1972 (W)

"It had already been raining for six days when the enormous shoe washed up onto the beach." James P. Blaylock, Land of Dreams, 1987 (SF)

"One things about boundary lines, Curtis Daniels thought, as he twisted a little in his saddle in an attempt to ease his aching back, they didn't mean a whole hell of a lot when it came to the weather." L.J. Washburn, Riders of the Monte, 1990 (W)

"The tropical rain fell in drenching sheets, hammering the corrugated roof of the clinic building, roaring down the metal gutters, splashing on the ground in a torrent. "Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park, 1990 (SF)

"Then there was the bad weather." Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast, 1960 (Mn)

"Nobody thinks about death on a nice spring day." Ed McBain, Ten Plus One, 1963 (M)

" The drought had lasted now for ten million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended." Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968 (SF)

"There was a university somewhere in the Midwest, Jack had once heard on the radio, which had an instrument package designed to go inside a tornado. "Tom Clancy, Debt of Honour, 1994 (Mn)

"This time death was like being in the center of a whirlpool, inside the heart of a roaring tornado." Ben Bova, Orion Among the Stars, 1995 (SF)


" Freak accidents ran in the family. "Karen Karbo, The Diamond Lane, 1991 (Mn)

"Bernice was sixteen years old when she witnessed her father's murder, and she watched the sequence of events that led to it with curious indifference. "Howard Fast, Agrippa's Daughter, 1964 (Mn)

"She was so deeply imbedded in my consciousness that for the first year of school I seem to have believed that each of my teachers was my mother in disguise." Philip Roth, Portnoy's Complaint, 1967 (Mn)

"We didn't know we were an odd family. " Caroline Bridgwood, Trepasses, 1988 (R)

"My decision to become a lawyer was irrevocably sealed when I realized my father hated the legal profession."John Grisham, The Rainmaker, 1995 (M)

I hope you got some pleasure reading these sentences from some of the best writers of the century.

Editor: Heather Chwastiak. Production: Erin Grainger. Text © 1998, Shara Rendell-Smock.

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