Same Bait, Different Hook

I used to watch NCIS...until I realized Ziva and DiNozzo weren't going to hook up.

Turns out my real interest lay in the tension between these characters, and when their attraction seemed to take a backseat, so did my attention. I still like the show, but it no longer hooks me.

Sometimes what one person loves in a story is completely different than what someone else loves. Same story, different draws.

This is why it's so important that we have more than one hook in our books. Every plot has more going on than just action, or just romance. My husband's favorite movie is Braveheart. He loves the action. That's his hook. Mine is the lost love, but also the new love with the queen.

What is your fave book of all time? Why? What is it about that story that hooks you? Do you have more than one hook in your WIP?


That's why I love Castle so much!!! The romantic tension between Castle and Beckett is awesome. I loved that with Bones too, but now that they are together this season, I really don't care about it at all. It's romance all the way for me. ;)
Sandra Orchard said…
Hmm, good food for thought, Jessica!
Check out that there book to the right! :D

Probably I'd have to go w/ Peace Like a River. Symbolism. Strong plot. Rich characters. Excellent descriptions. They all hooked me.
~ Wendy
Terri Tiffany said…
I've watched the last few NCIS shows and they ARE heating the tension up between them--her boyfriend got arrested and Tony is making some moves:))
Unknown said…
This is why I love books that have romance as a subplot. This way you have a least two hooks. :D
Oooh, Sherrinda!!! I'm on season one of I'm glad to know they hook up, but it takes awhile, huh? lol

Thanks Sandra. Not as good as chocolate though. lol

Wendy, I think I've heard of that one.

Oooh, really!!!!????!!!! Yay, it's about time! I'd heard rumors of her and Gibbs, which was just yuck. lol But then he was more of a father figure...I digress. Thanks for the info!

Good point, Stina. ;-)
Unknown said…
Lots to think about! I would say the love story is always the biggest hook in my stories, but this latest book also has a setting and a subplot that could be hooks for some people.
Linda Kage said…
Oh, Jessica, you're a genius! Different hooks is a brilliant idea. I'm going to have to keep that in mind when I next write.
Lindsay Harrel said…
Really nice point. We need several lines of tension going at once. It can definitely be difficult to weave that thread!
I don't know about all time, but recently I read A Bride Most Begrudging and the romantic tension was off the chart! That's my hook too!
Loree Huebner said…
Great thoughts here. I agree, there are several hooks to a great book.
Beth K. Vogt said…
This is a good, good question, Jessica. I think this is why we need subplots in our stories. And I think it's why we walk away from some TV shows. Once the romantic question is answered: Will they fall in love or not (although in today's culture it's been turned into "Will they sleep together or not?") people tune out or turn the TV off.
Brandi Boddie said…
Yep, that hook is killer. I'm with you on NCIS. I kinda lost interest, but I'm sure Tony and Ziva will get together in the final season so many years from now :-)

I really couldn't tell you what my favorite book is. There are so many. However, I do enjoy stories that have an aching, almost insurmountable obstacle on the road to finding peace and love. Of course, some edgy humor never hurts to lighten things up!
Sarah Forgrave said…
Oh wow, what a great point, Jessica! I never thought of it like that. (Just noticed your book in the sidebar, btw. So beautiful! :))
Melissa Jagears said…
That's why I love the movie Gladiator. Yeah, the wife is dead at the beginning, but it's still romantic, if you took that out, I'd not be as interested.
Stacy Henrie said…
Great post! I hadn't thought of needing more than one hook in a book, but it's true. The movies both my husband and I like typically have the action for him and the romance for me. :)
Julie, yep, I think that will definitely help. Not everyone is attracted to the love story, you know?

Hahaaa! LOL Linda, my ego just grew ten times its normal size.

Lindsay, totally agree about the difficulty.
Jessica, it's been so long since I read that story but I keep it on my shelf because I remember loving it. :-)

Thanks for popping by, Loree!

Excellent point, Beth!
Hi Brandi, I'm hard pressed to choose a fave book too. :-)

Thanks Sarah! I couldn't resist putting it there. *grin*

Melissa, that's my husband's other fave movie. :-)
LOL Stacy, same in my house!
Patti said…
My favorite book had town scandal, plus a romance and writer stuff. It was great.
Anonymous said…
I'll have to think about my 'hooks." Good food for thought! Interestingly, my favourite books have relational issues but not neccessarily of the romantic kind. Although I do like to read a good romance!
Cindy R. Wilson said…
Cool post! That's definitely a unique way of looking at a story. I guess, though I didn't quite think of it in the way you explained, that's why I'm excited to be writing romantic comedy now. I can appeal to readers with humor as well as the romance and that's fun!

I'm like you, hooked by the tension between the characters. That's why I'm not as big a fan of books that are more plot driven. It's fun to get lost in a great storyline, but for me, it's WAY more fun to get lost in a romance :)
Anonymous said…
Thanks for the "something new" I learned today. You're right a book does have to have more than one hook!!
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is my fave. I can't say enough good things about it. It's destined to be a classic.
Angie Muresan said…
Much to think about. I like stories and shows where the characters hook up, and there's a feeling of happily ever after.
My favorite book of all time? Hmmmm... I have so many that I like, but I'd say, probably Jane Eyre.
Nancy said…
I'm going to bore you again by saying that my favorite book is Jane Eyre. There's just nothing like it. This time, I skipped everything except the romance between the characters. The hook for me is the intense love each one has for the inner spirit of the other. It has a strong redemption theme. I also just read a more recent book of the same period. It had redemption almost as the main plot. Love that.
Hey there, BQE. ;) This is an excellent post. As you know, my fave book is Jane Eyre (like Nancy above--yay!!).

I love it for the beautiful writing, the romance, and the mystery. It's a beautiful book with so many different hooks, I just can't resist it. Kind of like a Godiva truffle ... :)
Deb Shucka said…
That's exactly why I'm loving Bones so much right now. This is an interesting and thought-provoking piece - a new way to think about hooks.

I love your book cover!
Jennifer Shirk said…
I have been watching the BBC version of Robin Hood recently. Same old story but man, the romantic triangle they've written into this show is fantastic!

Wow, congrats on your book! It looks great. How exciting.

And great point about hooks! I think two of my all time favorites is Anne of Green Gables & The Kite Runner.
Katie Ganshert said…
Just one?? I don't know if I can do it!! Can I pick a trilogy? If I can pick a trilogy, then I'd have to go with Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers. I fell in love with Marcus and I wanted to be Hadassah.
You just made me smile. I TOTALLY fell in love with Marcus. LOL

Melanie, I love, love Anne of Green Gables!! I'm staying away from Kite Runner though because I don't want to cry, even though I've heard it's an excellent book.

Oooh, Jennifer, I've always loved Robin Hood but have never seen the BBC one. Sounds very interesting!
LOL Patti,
That does sound great. :-)

That's why different hooks work great, Lynn. I read a Macomber once that had romance but there was also a strong relational thread having to do with the heroine's relationship with her mother. It was really good.

Cindy, so true!
Thanks for popping by, Traci. :-)

Me too Susan!!

Angie, Nancy and Anita...LOL! Glad you all love Jane Eyre so much. :-) I think it's about time for me to do a reread.

Deb, you know what's funny? I just started watching the 1st season of Bones and am REALLY enjoying it.

Wheatgerm, thanks. ;-)
Angie Ledbetter said…
My two fav books are To Kill a Mockingbird for its literary brilliance and several tightly woven threads. And Kathryn Magendie's Sweetie. Lots in common between these two unforgettable books. :)
Cathy said…
Hi, I have just awarded you the "The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award!" Check my blog out for details...

But don't feel pressured to participate. I was just happy to share your blog with others. :)
Angie, I'd like to read Sweetie. It's on my 2 buy list.

Hi Cathy! Thank you so much for letting me know. I'm heading over...

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