Jun 23, 2011


by Susan G. Haws

I want more time. I suspect this is a universal desire, as pretty much everyone I know wants more time. The characters in books I enjoy need more time to fight a battle, solve a puzzle, save the world, and experience a happily ever after.

There is not enough time in one life to read all the  books I want to read.  I read so many books where I think:  now that is how I want to write and this author did it so much better than I could. It is presumptuous for me to think I have something to offer. Yet, I toil on my work in progress because I hope and dream of learning and applying all the writing skills I glean from authors.

I dislike phone sales so try to avoid them with the aid of caller id.  Recently I made the mistake of picking up a call that turned out to be a political survey.  This call reminded me that I choose how to spend my time and that people and organizations that want my time need to make it worthwhile for me to share some of my precious time with them. (Needless to say this call was not worth my time.)

But the call reminded me how the hook I am rewriting needs to capture the attention of the reader and prove that the book to follow will be worth the reader's scarce time. I want each subsequent chapter to captivate the audience so he or she doesn't even think about the passage of precious time. 


  1. I understand what you're saying, but a conversation with my dentist yesterday about the difference between the lifestyle here in America as opposed to Europe (and other places) got me thinking.

    She's originally from Romania...spent her first 19 years there...but has been living in the U.S. for some 30 years now to the point that her Romanian has an American accent. Anyway, she said that when her mother came over to visit the last time, the older woman kind of silently watched the way we all scurry here and there, attached to our cell phones and computers, networking socially but not face to face. She had to laugh in the end, calling our lifestyle crazy. Her point was that we weren't slowing down enough to enjoy the really important things in life.

    My Romanian dentist put it down to our country being so "young and full of itself," making America sound almost like a teenager who thinks he knows better than his elders (the old world countries) and is bent on showing them up.

    I don't know. It almost has the ring of truth to it.

    As for taking time to get just the right hook, I fear that's been my hangup in starting my current WIP. You know how we decry "teaching to the test?" Well, something in me wants to turn from "writing to the audience," whether that audience is an agent, a publisher, or the mass public. I'd rather take my time, write the story I want the way I want it, and let it find its own audience.

  2. Tanya,
    Thank you. You gave me quite a lot of food for thought. I can just see it a nation full of teenagers. I have a hard time seeing how thy ca slow things down since I have one of the slowest lives around and I still feel that it zooms by at jet speed.
    You are an acomplished writer and I agree your work has to resonate with you before it can reach your audience. Maybe my problem is self doubt and overthinking. I do tend to overthink. I should remember changes are for the editing phase. I appreciate your help.

  3. Yes teenager that's an excellent description of where "we" are in the scheme of world history. That's great...means we still have a chance for maturity ha ha.

  4. Time is something I've been thinking a lot about lately. More time, yes, would be nice, but I've been trying hard to have BETTER time--a better use of my time and enjoying the things I am doing right now instead of looking ahead to the next thing coming up. It's so hard, though--and, as Tanya said, it's the way of our society, which makes the slowing down and making our time better even harder.


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