Wednesday, June 22, 2016

End of Chapter Hooks

with Jaime Jo Wright.

I was rebellious as a child, and I blame books. My parents set regular bed times, but once I started reading at the age of four, the stage of bad behavior had been set. It started with Dick and Jane under the covers with a flashlight. While my Dad thought it was quite sentimental that I found the old classic reader to be so captivating, my flashlight was confiscated, and I was banished to wait until morning to “see Dick run”.  By the time I was in elementary school, my parents decided that if we read as a family before bedtime, my imagination would be satiated by lights out. Ahem. Cough. Moving on to my pre-teen years, my parents embraced that they were raising a monster. A book monster. A child who would sacrifice sleep in order to finish a chapter . . . and that’s where the issue was. If only my parents had figured it out.

Have you noticed that the last book that kept you up until the wee hours was the book whose chapters ended with a hook? What do I mean by a “hook”? Well, that feeling that the scene is coming to a satisfying close and you can reach for the lamp by the bed to flick it off. But, then the author has the audacity to drop that killer last line, or enticing cliffhanger paragraph, and it’s a necessary evil to turn the page and begin the following chapter. Excuses like “just the first few paragraphs to see what happens”, or “just five more minutes”, are prevalent in the reading of such books. It’s a crime, really. I blame the population’s sleep shortage on end of chapter hooks.

Take Treasure Island. This one I finished in one day, stretched out over the course of an afternoon and an all-nighter. But what can a person do when the chapter ends with a line like: “It was a smile that had in it both something of pain and weakness—a haggard, old man’s smile; but there was, besides that, a grain of derision, a shadow of treachery, in his expression as he craftily watched, and watched, and watched me at my work.” GOOD HEAVENS! Hold your breath and turn the page! 

Or something less, um, treacherous. Little Women. Cliffhanger chapter endings don’t occur in romances, do they? “When Laurie said goodbye, he whispered significantly, ‘it won’t do a bit of good, Jo. My eye is on you. So mind what you do, or I’ll come and bring you home.’” (I’m still upset Jo didn’t marry Laurie, although it would have quite ruined them both).

Little Women

And YA fiction? Even Ralph from the Mouse and the Motorcycle mastered the chapter end hook. With one horrific sentence taught with friction, emotion, and that necessary turn-of-the-page. “The boy could not have said anything that would hurt Ralph more”. 

So are there rules, as a writer, to gripping the reader with these intoxicating chapter ends? I believe there are, and I’ll share a few I learned when I wrote my first novella, “The Cowgirl’s Lasso” and had only 20,000 words to tell a story and keep a reader intrigued. 

1. Study outside your genre. This one is a no-brainer, but yet, as writers, we often read so much within our genre that we don’t always stretch beyond to learn from others. I often share on my Facebook page different books I’m reading, and more often than not, they’re not in my genre of Historical Romance. For example, a romance isn’t necessarily going to end a chapter with a man behind the heroine, knife hoisted in the air above her back, ready to plunge … okay … you get the point. (pun intended) BUT! That heart-pounding finish can be translated into the romantic genre, as evidenced by adaptation. 

“She pressed her fingers to the window pane. It was too painful, it hurt too much, and nothing could possibly make matters worse. Her eyes captured the reflection in the glass, moments before she felt his breath on her shoulder. The man she knew she belonged with, but could never have. The man she never wanted to see again.” Call it the “knife plunge end” … BAM! What happens next? Does she turn? Does he kiss her neck? Do they fight? I don’t know. There is no next-page in this scenario. (muah hahahaha! *insert evil laughter here*)

2. Eliminate sentences. For fun, take a chapter you’ve written with a satisfactory ending. Delete the last two sentences and see what happens. Often, you will find your chapter hook is already written, you just didn’t know it. Example: “Her eyes captured the reflection in the glass, moments before she felt his breath on her shoulder. The man she knew she belonged with, but could never have. The man she never wanted to see again. He was handsome, achingly so, and as she turned, she wondered if there could ever be a different ending. But as she met his eyes …” blah, blah, blah. You can see the chapter is coming to end, maybe not with a solidified romance, but definitely wordy, and most certainly not heart pounding. 

3. Make them suffer, question, or yearn. Jo didn’t know if her sister would live. Jim questioned who Captain Silver really was. Dick longed to run. And Ralph the Mouse? He just had it bad in all directions. A chapter needs to end with that hanging chad. In our example, who is the man behind our heroine? She loves him, but did he leave her once, a long time ago? Perhaps he’s married and she’s longing for what she cannot have? Or does she simply love him and never said so? The questions. Oy, the questions. It makes me turn the page, does it you?

4. Insert an imaginary “To Be Continued.” Look at every chapter as an episode that isn’t completed until the next episode. Did you ever watch The Flash, Once Upon a Time, or 24? These episodes end with minimal resolution. Just enough to keep the viewer from putting their head through the wall, but not enough to get them to quit watching ‘cause it feels as if the story is complete. It means that on Sunday night, I’m popping popcorn and anticipating the start of Once Upon a Time because I waited a WHOLE WEEK! The bonus of being a writer? You only extend the wait time by one page. It’s magic. 

Chapter hooks are so vital to a good book’s intrigue. It keeps the page turning and turning until finally, it’s 3 AM, and your dad is standing over your bed and slipping the book from your sleepy fingers, brushing your hair back, and whispering, “you goon.” Let’s make our readers “goons” who can’t turn out the light, because those chapters just keep ending with to be continued.

What book hooked you chapter after chapter, or what is the worst possible chapter ending for you, as a reader? As a writer, have you ever cut your last paragraph by a few sentences to see what happens?

 Professional coffee drinker Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy Tinkerbell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue.

Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at

Web site: 
Periscope: @jaimejowright

"The Cowgirl's Lasso," The Cowboy Bride's Collection - Barbour Publishing - March 2016

"Gold Haven Heiress," California Gold Rush Romance Collection - Barbour Publishing - August 2016

The Cowboy's Bride Collection: 9 Historical Romances Form on Old West Ranches

Ride onto the open range alongside cowboys and cowgirls who embrace the adventures of living in the Old West from Kansas to New Mexico, Colorado to Texas. Whether rounding up cattle or mustangs, training horses, fending off outlaws, weathering storms, competing in rodeos, or surviving drought these cowboys work hard each day. But when hardheaded men have their weaknesses exposed by well-meaning women will they stampede away or will a lasting love develop? Find out in this exciting collection of nine historical romances

Jaime Jo is giving away one print or e copy of The Cowboy's Bride Collection to one commenter. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.


Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome, Jaime Jo! This is absolutely the best post on hooks!!

But first. What's your favorite java brew? We must place an order for the day.

Bagel tray coming too.

So delighted to have you here.

Jaime Wright said...

Oooooo there's nothing like a strong brew of Guatemalan coffee. And since I'm so delighted to be here, I'll throw in a second pot of Hazelnut too!! Yay!!!

Mary Preston said...

As a reader the worst possible chapter ending leaves a character hanging & then not having them turn up until the chapter after next. Of course, I read furiously to find out what happens. So, I guess it's a love/hate scenario.

Cindy W. said...

I'm currently reading a book where a chapter left me hanging and because of alternating voices it wasn't resolved for three more chapters. This of course makes me push through to find out what is happening, but when I'm reading on my lunch hour it is awful because I find myself skimming ahead to find out what happens so I can go back to work in peace. The next time I pick up my book I do go back and read what I skipped over though.

May you all have a blessed day!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Tina Radcliffe said...

I'm going to mention secular books here, as I never like to pit my inspirational favorites against each other.

I read a lot of Lee Childs. He is the king of hooks. I have lost much sleep due to him.

Another writer I've recently discovered is Mary Kay Andrews.Southern Sass. LOTS OF LOST SLEEP!

Jill Weatherholt said...

Welcome, Jamie Jo! This is a fantastic post. I agree with your point on eliminating sentences. Years ago, I deemed Debby Giusti the queen of chapter ending hooks...she does it so well.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Lee Child. Not Childs.

Yes. Time for that Guatemalan Coffee. Bring it right in along with some Sumatra. Recently someone brought me back CREMA (coffee), from Puerto Rico. EXCELLENT!!

Jackie said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Jamie Jo! Thanks for sharing a great post on hooks.

I hope you all have a great day!

Ruth Logan Herne said...


How wonderful that is! I am happy dancing for you!

And then thank you for a delightful post on hooks.... To hook or not to hook, that is the question!

I find more definitive hooks in kids and young adult books than in literary or romance fiction.... It's more like "hook-Light" in those...

And of course in thrillers and suspense as Tina noted. Mary does a great job in her historical suspense novels with chapter-ending hooks.

Do you find that it's more of an emotional hook in romance? So the reader is infused with the hero or heroine's indecision rather than action?

I like the hook to reflect the internal struggle of the protagonists....

And I love when it inspires the reader to turn the page. YES!!!!!


So glad you're here today! And this is my first Guatemalan coffee, so here goes!

kaybee said...

This hit home. It's something I need to work on.
"Dick and Jane" kept you up? They were kind of boring. But I liked the dog.
Kathy Bailey

Barbara Scott said...

Jaime, I'm more of a coffee snob, but would you believe I drink Aldi's fair trade dark roast?Deep, rich, smoothe. Yummmm.

Because of your post, I'm going to pull up end of chapters on my Kindle and immerse myself in hooks! Terrific blog!!

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, Jaime! A good chapter- or scene-ending hook--fun to read and fun to write! Sometimes I like to pose an actual question at the end--either voiced or internal. Or end the scene/chapter in one character's POV and immediately pick up the conversation/response in the next scene/chapter in the other character's POV.

This a great refresher/reminder post! Thank you!

Richard Mabry said...

Jaime, I'm old enough (er, mature enough) to remember the Saturday movie "serials" that always ended with a cliff-hanger. So, when I started writing my novels, I figured this would be a good way to end each chapter. Now one of the comments I often get from readers is that they stayed up all night reading, because they wanted to read "just one more chapter." Thanks for a great post about this tool.

Janet Dean said...

JAIME, a sneaky kid always has more fun. ;-) Welcome to Seekerville! Thanks for the terrific reminder that we need to end chapters with hooks that keep readers up at night.

In my last book I had a villain and a showdown scene. I ended that chapter with the firing of a gun and started the next with the bullet zipping past the hero. But most of the end of chapter hooks relate to the story question of either obtaining the goal or of guarding the heart. For me its easier to end with making them suffer and yearn than stopping the action. Thanks for your example of her fingers on the windowpane and the unanswered question of her response to the man behind her. I'm going to strive for that unsettled chapter ending.


Wilani Wahl said...

This is a great post. I have read several books that had hooks at the end of the chapters. I am one who allows the reading of a book one chapter at a time in between chores and other things, but when the author does this before I know it I have read two or three chapters because I didn't even notice the chapter heading.

I've been wanting to do this with my writing. Your post will help.

Vince said...

Hi Jamie:

I just read that your little daughter is a coffee drinker! My Norwegian grandmother used to take me to NYC in the late 1940's and buy me coffee at the amazing Horn & Hardart automat. I could not have been more than six years old at the time and probably younger...but that first cup of coffee lit up my brain like a fourth of July fireworks display!

It wasn't long before I was taking coffee black before school. I was one hyper kid. Whenever I got too hyper in class the nuns would tell me to go into the basketball gym and run around until I was exhausted and then come back into class. (The gym was across the hall.) No psycho drugs back then. "You're hyper? Run around the gym to you get it out of your system." It always worked!!!

I don't think my mother ever forgave her mother! I guess in Norway kids drink coffee.

BTW: My grandmother thought Horn & Haardart had the best coffee in NYC. I found out later that it was New Orleans Chicory coffee!

I can tell the difference between Hawaiian, Kenyan, Jamaican, and Colombian coffee almost by the smell alone. Can you? Which coffee do you like best? And do you think Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is the best in the world?

To keep it within a reasonable price, my wife and I buy Folgers Black Silk coffee as our daily coffee.

About 'hooks', as a copywriter with decades of experience, I know them well. There is a famous copywriting maxim:

"People will not be bored in print"!

In essence you have to reward the reader for reading every sentence of the way. And a hook does not have to be a danger, like someone hanging by their fingers off the side of a cliff, a 'hook' is any anticipatory event the reader looks forward to reading about.

Tina mentioned, Lee Child, who is a hook master. He has 'hooks' within 'hooks' within 'hooks'. I call these 'anticipatory events'. Some are introduced and resolved within a page or two, some take a full chapter, and of course there is always the novel length AE.

I must say you really practice what you preach. I read the four chapter ending hooks given in the sample of "The Cowgirl's Lasso" on Amazon, and just those four hooks alone have me wanting to read the full novella!

But what I liked best is your dedication. I can't say I've read a more heartfelt dedication before (though Ruth and Missy can really pull the heartstrings).

To my CJ.
May your spirit race with dreams.
May it run in the wilds of faith.
May the Lord create in you the strength of Deborah, the steadfastness of Ruth, and the bravery of Ester. Be strong, Baby Girl. You are your momma's heartbeat.

And to Daddy.
For never letting me give up on my dream.
For always sharing my imagination.
For being my hero.

If a dedication gets any better than that, I haven't read it.

I'd really like to meet you in person someday and shake your hand.


Please enter me into the Kindle version of the drawing. Have you met Vickie McDonough? She is a wonderful person and so very gracious and encouraging to aspiring writers. I try to keep up with her works.

Caryl Kane said...

HEY JAIME!!! It's great seeing you here! I am now hooked on these Barbour collections. I am also hooked on Dani Pettrey's Alaskan Courage series.

Please enter me in the draw for a print copy of The Cowboy's Bride Collection.

Myra Johnson said...

What a fun post, Jaime!!! Great tips--and rationale--for ending those chapters with compelling hooks. It just seems natural to try to tie up all the loose ends at the end of each chapter, when that is exactly the opposite of what we need to do!

Something else I try, especially in longer books where I use several viewpoints, is to end a scene with a hook, then jump into another character's POV in a different setting and situation. So the reader has to get through that scene before finding out what happened to the other character.

Marianne Barkman said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Jamie. This was a great post. Those hooks had me every time!

Jaime Wright said...

Mary, I have to agree with you! If you're going to leave me hanging at chapter's end (which is genius) don't make me wait for more chapters to get back to it. The love and hate becomes palpable. Lol

Jaime Wright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jaime Wright said...

Cindy W., I so agree!!! LOL I'll do that whole "skim ahead thing" too just so I can concentrate at work.

Jaime Wright said...

Tina, I haven't read Lee Child, but I have read many General Market novels who have kept me up for hours. The worst ones as a child were Nancy Drew. Those ALWAYS ended with cliffhangers!

Jaime Wright said...

Jill, I'll have to check out Debby Guisti! I haven't read her either, but I'm always up for new authors to learn from!

Jaime Wright said...

Jackie, No problem and thanks for the welcome! :)

Jaime Wright said...

Ruth, I'm happy dancing with you! Two collections from Barbour was quite the surprise and they're such a great publisher to work with! I agree. I think often it's an emotional hook in romance, but we can't discount that an action-hook can be just as effective. However, I would certainly be cautious of too much action in a romance novel unless it's in the suspense category as well. The emotional angst of a romance is what keeps those pages turning, imho! :)

Jaime Wright said...

Kaybee, LOL! Yes. Dick and Jane DID keep me up. But do remember, I was only four, so I should get a pass that at four, it is riveting fiction ;)

Jaime Wright said...

Barbara, I will not just your choice of Aldi's coffee as I've not had it. But deep, rich bad smooth is always a fantastic intro to a new coffee choice! Have fun studying end of chapter hooks! :)

Jaime Wright said...

Glynna (man, your name is beautiful), great points!!! Yes! Sometimes that secondary POV will pick up where the other left off. It's a good way to swap perspectives and keep the reader engaged. :)

Jaime Wright said...

Richard, you are the master. Everyone! Read Richard's books! (but only when you can sleep in in the morning and catch up on zzzz's) :)

Jaime Wright said...

Sneaky kids always have more fun, so true Janet! Although it's a must to be sure you don't get caught. :) I got better as I got older :) (fyi, reading past bedtime was probably one of my worst rebellions) Unsettling chapter endings can be just as effective as action. And, don't discount the suffer and yearning too! :)

Jaime Wright said...

Wilani, yes!!! LOL I've done that too! Chapters between chores and then BAM! Two hours later the dishes are attracting flies.

Julie Lessman said...

JAMIE!!! Welcome to Seekerville, my friend -- SO great to have you here!

And talk about hooks -- you had me at "hazelnut"!! ;)

I agree with Tina -- this is one of the best blogs I've read on hooks -- totally fresh and creative, so THANK YOU!!

And, like Tina, I don't like to pit my inspirational favorites against each other either, so I'll go secular as well with possibly the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) I've ever read.

I was a writer's retreat waaaaaaaay out in God's country one time, rooming with Mary Connealy, who I desperately prayed would rub off on me in the area of speed-writing books, but no such luck.

Anyway, it was the time when Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series was going crazy, and several friends told me I needed to read it, so I did. I finished it after midnight at the writer's retreat and thought. Eh ... yeah, it was good, but not really my cup of tea, so I was pretty sure I wouldn't continue the series.

And then Stephanie Meyers pulled a fast one by including the first chapter of her next book with a hook that soooooo reeled me in, I would have jumped in a car if I had one and driven to the nearest all-night Wal-mart (if we weren't a gazillion miles away from civilization) to buy it, it was THAT good!

So I totally concur with the power of "hooks"!!


Jaime Wright said...

Vince, LOL! My husband is Norwegian, so this might explain my daughter's predisposition to coffee. I will use this as my justification now, rather than defending myself for giving her her first taste when she was 9 month old. LOL

Yes! I can totally taste the difference between coffees. I am a huge fan of Guatemalan, but even there I'm a snob. My husband goes to Guatemala occasionally and brings back coffee that has been roasted on open fire pits. So the flavor is -- unlike any American-roasted Guatemalan bean. I do not think Jamaican Blue Mountain is the best. While expensive, when I tried it, I was underwhelmed. I have some Folgers Black Silk too. It came highly recommended from a reader!

And THANK YOU for reading my chapter hooks. I KNEW someone was going to do that and hold me accountable to this post. LOL! :) Glad I passed. The dedication was a long time in coming. My Dad has been my champion since I started writing at 13. And my daughter, well, I can't say more than what the dedication already says. But thank you for appreciating it.

Would love to meet you too! And I've yet to meet Vickie in person, but I'm hoping to soon!

Jaime Wright said...

Caryl! :) LOL Got ya hooked, got ya hooked (that's me kindly taunting you) :) And Dani's works are some of my favorites!

Jaime Wright said...

Myra, absolutely! Sometimes, as writers, we feel we need to conclude a chapter, as if we're concluding a story. But, that should only come at the end of the book. :) And, yes, changing POVS is a great way to keep that story moving forward too!

Jaime Wright said...

Thanks Marianne! :)

Terri Reed said...

Good post and a great reminder. I love the advice to cut off the last two or so sentences. Must remember that as I race toward a deadline.

Jaime Wright said...

JULIE! :) :) Hazelnut is soooooo delish! :)
YES! I agree with the Twilight series. And I've noticed several publishers including first chapters at the end of a book. It's psychological warfare and typically works with me everytime ;)


Jaime Wright said...

JULIE! :) :) Hazelnut is soooooo delish! :)
YES! I agree with the Twilight series. And I've noticed several publishers including first chapters at the end of a book. It's psychological warfare and typically works with me everytime ;)


Sharee Stover said...

Hi Jaime, great post on hooks! I write romantic suspense and contemporary suspense so hooks are a must, must, must. And it's great to meet a fellow coffee snob although for me, it means being a creamer snob too. :) Ted Dekker had me flipping like a mad woman when I read Adam...I was also still breastfeeding my youngest so at 2:00 a.m. I'm scared out of my wits, unable to put down the book and sitting with my back against the wall so I can see the doorway.

Jaime Wright said...

Terri - so glad the advice helped! Have fun chopping off sentences :)

Sharee -- Ted Dekker. We have alllllllll lost sleep because of that man! :)

Janet Dean said...

JAIME, I could tell you were not a trouble maker. I'd have loved a bedtime bookworm child. I told mine stories where the main characters were animals that carried their names. They loved the stories but didn't have your passion for reading.


Tina Radcliffe said...

Are you an Okie, Jaime Jo?

Caryl Kane said...

I am also HOOKED ON DEKKER! Jaime, thank you for getting me hooked on Dani's books.

While you ladies enjoy your coffee, I'll enjoy my Chai tea.

Jaime Wright said...

Janet - LOL I was a troublemaker in my own right but nothing serious. :) Ahhhh, the bedtime made-up stories. Those are the best!

Tina - NO! I'm not Okie :( I'm actually a native Wisconsinite who always intended on leaving but never did. I have wanderlust though, so am well-traveled :)

Caryl - you and Chai. :)

Tina Radcliffe said...

Well traveled wanderlust is a good thing, lol.

What's next for you?

What are you working on right now?

And with your Captain Hook and his assistants, how do you fit writing in?

Tina Radcliffe said...

And then, let's just ask this for the Vince's in the audience.

Pantser or Plotter by heart?

Tina Radcliffe said...

And Caryl, have you tried dirty chai.

My second go to beverage. A little chai, a little espresso. Wonderful!

Jaime Wright said...

What's next? I'm traveling to Nashville in August and hopefully to see my sister in Virginia by years end. I'm currently editing my last full length and have several under review right now. Crossing fingers for a full length soon! I write in 15 min sprints. I have journals all over and in every bag so it's most transposing come nighttime. And!! I'm a mutt. Half plotter half pantser. I need a plot fleshed out but the rest all happens organically.

DebH said...

I've been a voracious reader since about four years old. I can relate to the late nights reading "just one more page". In fact, there were several times the sun came up before I finished a book - boy, was my mom NOT happy. Apparently I was a bit of a terror when I lacked sleep. *sigh*

I like the tips you've given. I'm not very good at hooks, so I will practice. I've stopped reading some of the added "First Chapter" sections of eBooks just to keep me from spending too much money on too many books (one can't have too many books, but... well, you get the idea - I hope).

Put my name in the draw for either eBook or Print. I'd just like to have that collection. *grin*

Great post!

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Hi Jamie! Thank you for such a wonderful post, and a fantastic reminder to keep the reader reading! The last book I read that I couldn't put down was Tosca Lee's The Progeny. So good, in fact, I had to literally leave it at home lest I take it to work to read when I shouldn't be!

I'm currently working on a cozy murder mystery, and recently went back through my first five chapters to add those hooks in because they felt too, well, cozy in the original version! My crit partner agreed. I once heard that you should never close a chapter on someone going to sleep, so I actually changed that chapter to end on the character getting ready for bed, and noticing a clue that fell out of her pocket as she was changing. When she picks up the clue, some of the pieces of the mystery come together, but it also makes her realize that the killer had been very close to her earlier that day, and she hadn't known it. Who wants to sleep after that?

Thanks for the reminder on hooks, and have a wonderful day!

Tina Radcliffe said...

I love that you have journals all over. A lot like my legal pad fettish. hahahahah

Tina Radcliffe said...

Boy is that Terri Reed quiet. I didn't even see her stop and in and then leave.

Hope she got a bagel.

Terri writes for Howard Books and for Love Inspired Suspense.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Ooooh Myra, this is sneaky!!

"Something else I try, especially in longer books where I use several viewpoints, is to end a scene with a hook, then jump into another character's POV in a different setting and situation. So the reader has to get through that scene before finding out what happened to the other character."

Great idea.

Tina Radcliffe said...

I agree with Janet. That unsettled chapter ending is a brilliant idea. I am probably going to spend the entire day changing the endings on my WIP. LOL.

But all for a good cause. Reader sleeplessness. LOL.

Myra Johnson said...

TINA said: "And then, let's just ask this for the Vince's in the audience. Pantser or Plotter by heart?"

Oh, girl, you really love opening cans of worms!!!

(VINCE, you know we love you, right????)

Kav said...

What a fun and illuminating post and discussion. I'm the reader queen of reading just one more chapter. When I'm into a story I'm all in. So I just randomly picked two books teetering on my review pile here and opened them at an end of chapter sentence.

"Within seconds most of the plane had been consumed by the relentless blaze." Belle Calhoune, A Match Made in Heaven. Needless to say, I did not stop reading there even though it was bedtime. Sleep can be highly over-rated when your TBR pile is toppling over with books like this one!

And then, in The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White -- "What hope did she ever have of being enough for him?" That was one of those read into the wee hours of the morning books because of the inner turmoil the heroine feels about herself and her worth. I just couldn't leave Rowena there all alone floundering like that.

Megan Brummer said...

Oo! I'll grab a virtual bagel and a *ahem* third cup of coffee...

This is great! I'm looking back through my WIP and noticing that I somehow did this on accident for most of the chapters. Now I can be more intentional :)

I wrecked my eyesight staying up late reading in the dark (just the hall light coming in through the cracked bedroom door) as a kid. But it was totally worth it!

Two books that kept me up WAY too late recently (but with the light on because we're adults now...) were "The Martian" by Andy Weir and "The Feathered Bone" by Julie Cantrell. You know, "One more chapter. Ok, one more. Oh no! Ok... another chapter and THEN I'll sleep." And suddenly the kids are up and it's time to start the day and you only have 30 pages left so you read at the breakfast table while they're strapped into the booster seats and can't get away And then you pray they nap at the same time that afternoon so you can actually get some sleep too.

Yeah... I wanna write like that! :) Thanks for the great advice!

Chill N said...

Jaime, all your suggestions are helpful. Delete the last two sentences' is the best. I tried deleting the last two sentences on some writing that was bogged -- and wow, what a difference! If I'm eager to start writing the next page, maybe the reader will be equally eager to read it.

Oh, a series of books that kept me reading chapter after chapter (years ago) was Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy. After I finished the last book, I started reading the first book again. I wonder if I'd be as mesmerized by those books now. I would start reading one to find out but if I get hooked again that means my WIP would have to wait all the longer :-)

Such a good explanation of hooks. Thank you!

Nancy C

Chill N said...

Just realized -- recent books that have kept me reading ''just a few pages of the next chapter" are Craig Johnson's Longmire books. And Jodi Thomas's Ransom Canyon series. Loss-of-sleep books for sure :-)

Thanks to everyone who is mentioning the names of the other writers who keep them reading. Always nice to have a list of 'new to me' writers to turn to.

Nancy C

Angela Mills said...

I was so excited to see your name here today, Jamie! And I've been thinking about this all week. I'm writing a shorter story, kind of a novella, and I really need those hooks. I may have even talked my husband's ear off about it on a one hour drive on Monday. This post is perfect timing and I can't wait to implement your tips :)

ohiohomeschool said...

So so true. I am always trying to stop at the of chapters, and yet many times I keep reading. Great advice.

I look forward to reading your new books.


Sandy Smith said...

Interesting post, Jaime. I will have to keep these tips in mind.

Please enter me in the drawing.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Angela Mills! Always good to see a new face. Tell us about your kinda novella!!!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

"Delete the last two sentences' is the best."

You know, Nancy this is so true. I have had them deleted for me. I should have learned something, but I didn't until I reread this! LOL

Tina Radcliffe said...

I've read a lot of comments in reviews about how readers don't like trilogies where the book doesn't have resolution until book 3. But I really think it's a matter of execution.

I read Terri Blackstock's newest one If I Run and I didn't feel disappointed that the end was a bit of a hook to the next book, and I think that's because she gave me closure for the crime of the first book and I am looking forward to meeting that heroine again in book 2.

Must ask her to write faster. :)

Tina Radcliffe said...


These are totally on my TBR pile.

"The Martian" by Andy Weir and "The Feathered Bone" by Julie Cantrell."

Tina Radcliffe said...

For Myra: Yes, I love poking the bear.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Kav, both of those books sound terrific.

And Belle is coming to Seekerville on July 7!

Thanks for the heads up.

Edwina said...


I've been wondering what was causing all these sleepless nights. Now I know - it's those darn chapter hooks!

Awesome post!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Becky and Sandy, you are in the draw as well as DebH.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Stephanie Queen Ludwig.

The more you talk about it, the more I am intrigued by your cozy. Have you started contesting it yet? What's the plan?

Mary Connealy said...

I am going to go through every wip that I have (that is not to late) and do BETTER.
This is inspiring! Thank you!

Mary Connealy said...

And Jaime, I do read outside my genre and I think it helps. I think reading great books is the best way to learn.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Amen to that, Mary.

Reading outside your genre keeps you on your toes.

I love it when I fall into a book and forget I am a writer.

Crystal said...

What a great post! Once I can get past all the family stuff that has pulled me away, I can't wait to dig back into my WIP and check my hooks. :-) I am bookmarking this one.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jaime Welcome to Seekerville and thanks for all the info in your post. I'm so laughing at you reading under the covers with a flashlight. I did that most of my childhood. How my parents never found out is beyond me. But maybe they did and figured I was safer in bed reading than sneaking out exploring. LOL

I love those chapter ending hooks and am a real sucker for them also. But then I don't like giving up on a book at all so I really don't even need chapter hooks.

Thanks again for joining us.

Sandra Leesmith said...

I think I'll go back into my wip after reading this and make sure my hooks are grabbers.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Does your trip to Nashville include the ACFW conference? I know alot of Seekers will be there. How fun. Wish some of them were coming west to San Diego next month. sigh'

Tina Radcliffe said...

Well done, Jaime. You have everyone going back to revise their manuscripts. LOL.

Jaime Wright said...

Glad I'm not the only late night reader!!!! :)

Jaime Wright said...

Stephanie, your cozy sounds intriguing!!!!!

Jaime Wright said...

Tina, a legal pad fettish? Lolol love it!!!!

Jaime Wright said...

Kav, you listed two books on my TBR list!!! Glad to hear they're well established in chapter hooks! :)

Jaime Wright said...

Megan, you made me lol!! Especially the "third cup of coffee" ;)

Jaime Wright said...

Nancy, so glad it helped!!!! Striking those last sentences is like uncovering treasure!!

Jaime Wright said...

Angela!!!! Xxoo. So glad the post is timely!!

Jaime Wright said...

Becky, thanks for stopping by and hope you enjoy my books. It's always nerve wracking to have people read my stuff lolol

Jaime Wright said...

Sandy, glad you stopped by!!!

Jaime Wright said...

Edwina, so glad I could uncover the cause of no sleep for you!!! ;)

Jaime Wright said...

Mary, can you do any better???? *jaime falls onto couch in a dead swoon*

Jaime Wright said...

Crystal, family always makes writing challenging!!! I commiserate

Jaime Wright said...

Sandra, Lolol! Glad I'm not the only rascal with a flashlight in bed!

Jaime Wright said...

Sandra, Nashville is all about ACFW for me!!!! :)

Jaime Wright said...

Tina, lol!!!! I didn't mean to create more work for everyone, but have fun!! Are we serving dessert now? I'd like to recommend cheesecake if we are ;)

Tina Radcliffe said...

Passing out cheesecake and a big thank you for being with us today, Jaime Jo!!!

Look for the Seekers in NASHVILLE@!!!!

Crystal said...

What a great post! Once I can get past all the family stuff that has pulled me away, I can't wait to dig back into my WIP and check my hooks. :-) I am bookmarking this one.

Deanna Stevens said...

LOL.. yes those hooks! Many times I've had to read one more page..
I'm always thankful when the author will give us a peek into the next
book when they leave that hook!!
Please enter me in the draw for a print copy of The Cowboy's Bride Collection.