Workshop Recap: Hooking Readers with High Concept

So I’m behind in posting … again. This is becoming a bad habit.  This week, since I’m still not ready for the post on art journals (I know, more bad habits!), I thought I’d give you the highlights from another workshop I attended.

This one was “The Happy Hooker: Hook the Reader with High Concept” by Vicky Dreiling.

So essentially, she talked about a few ways you could hook your reader and reel them in.

  • your cover as hook (often in the visuals, using strongly appealing visuals)
  • using tropes as hooks

The latter was of particular interest to me, since she provided the most complete list of romance tropes I’ve ever seen … and which I didn’t have time to completely copy down (my bad, I know.) Essentially, the idea was to use some of the familiar romance tropes – which the genre is often labeled “formulaic” for – but give them a new twist.

Some include:

  • secret baby
  • the bad boy (or bad girl)
  • matchmaker
  • marriage of convenience
  • marry a millionaire
  • sexy boss
  • dark secret

Also don’t forget the importance of character hooks, that is, playing on character archetypes which are already familiar in your readers mind, and helps automatically connect you with readers which – you guessed it – you can give a unique and new twist.

From there, once you know your unique “hooks” that will make your story – and possibly your entire author brand – stand out, make it easy for readers to find you.

  • link up with other authors
  • distill your premise down to 1-3 sentences that sell
  • position the next books to match the first without feeling too derivative.
  • give yourself a “hook” with a short, snappy bio.

And, hopefully soon, I plan to provide you with my favorite part of the workshop, or at least a link to it, of all those classic romance tropes. Just getting to play with those sounded like a ton of fun! 🙂

Thanks for reading, and have a great week.