Monday, January 23, 2006

Teases

Hooks hook whether they relate to the core conflict or not. So, in mainstream fiction today the emphasis is on irresistible bait rather than on rigid classical form. Such hooks are short-range story questions called teases. Teases are attention-grabbing devices to arouse curiosity with catchy story questions. To pose them the story opens with some exciting action or dialog and plunges the reader into immediate scene. That scene needn't involve a main character or action belonging to the core conflict.

For example, here is the opening of Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess.
It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced the Archbishop had come to see me.

Yes, that means the eighty-one-year-old narrator was making love to somebody of the same sex when the Archbishop arrived. Gets your attention and poses some interesting story questions, doesn't it?

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