Sunday, April 17, 2011

Jim Whiting: Nonfiction Hooks #scbwiwwa

Reported by Allyson Valentine Schrier 

Jim Whiting talked about The Good, the Bad and the Very, Very Ugly of nonfiction hooks.

Using dozens of examples from his own nonfiction writing, Jim demonstrated varied openings for a host of nonfiction topics, discussing the strengths in each.


· In a biography, instead of starting with birth, start with an incident that has immediate appeal.
· As in fiction, the rule of threes applies.
· When writing about historical events find a modern hook that today’s readers can relate to.
· Don’t be squeamish about appealing to a kid’s appreciation for the disgusting

Jim also handed out a baker’s dozen style notes, including things like:

· Use vivid, precise verbs. Instead of walk consider shamble, strut, amble.
· Try not to use the word “very” with any consistency
· Try not to use a passive voice

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