My goodness… you certainly all got back here in a hurry. I think this is one of the shortest days we’ve had since the beginning of the experiment. Maybe it’s because we had something to look forward to. I don’t mind saying I’m rather excited about it, too. Do you realize we have never come away disappointed when we set out to perfect the craft? We always discover some treasure we can put to good use.

"I like the part about the adventure, myself. And the fact the rest of you might finally donate enough time to help me get my ladies out of the wine cellar."

"Is that the manuscript we’ll be practicing on? As I recall, Lilly, that entire project was one big experiment. I was hoping we might actually accomplish some work during these sessions and be able to catch up with the agenda at the same time."

"I beg your pardon, Ann, but what good is moving forward on the agenda if the quality is lacking? I’m all for the treasure hunt. Let’s start with you, Professor. I can’t imagine what sort of demonstration you could come up with out of that laboratory of yours that might illustrate writing rules, but--"

"I’d prefer to save it till the end, if you don’t mind – I’ve just sweetened my tea. Besides that, Ann’s chocolate things look delicious. Let’s just lead off with the importance of hooks in general. Begin at the beginning, you might say."

"Which is exactly where the first hook should go. At the beginning. I don’t know how many times we’ve had to go back and change a beginning because it didn’t have a sufficient enough hook. I realize it’s a rough draft, Lilly, but what have you got so far?"

"When opportunity first knocked on Stella Madison’s door, she thought it was the devil."


"I agree with the Professor. We might not know who Stella is at this point but we’ve all had at least a passing acquaintance with the devil. Your hook, of course, is that we would now like to know what the opportunity was. For the sake of this discussion, at what point in the manuscript do you actually tell us?"

"I don’t give out that information until page eleven, at which point it becomes one of those cliff-hanger hooks for the end of a chapter. Let me see… I believe the exact wording is: It wasn’t until the following Tuesday that the opportunity revealed itself."

"Page eleven and you haven’t told what it is, yet? What’s to keep us interested? Why should we care?"

"Well, because by that time I’ve presented several possibilities of what it could be. Sort of a who-done-it approach. I’ve always been of the opinion readers like to use their own wits in a book to figure things out, no matter what kind it is."

"That being the case, then, it seems you would have to compensate by some excellent building of Stella’s character in order for us to care enough about her to continue on. Wouldn’t you agree, Professor?"

"Undoubtedly. But it’s a difficult challenge in so short a space. How exactly did you go about it, my dear?"

"I made Stella, herself, a hook. You see, you know right off she is not who she says she is."

"Why, Lilly – what a brilliant idea!"

"Which is about as perfect a definition of a hook that you can get, ladies. Now look here. One doesn’t have to understand hooks in order for them to get your attention. They snag. They irritate. Or they interfere. A really good one will bother you until you are forced to deal with it, no matter what you were doing before it came along. Ann, you don’t by any chance have more of those chocolate things, do you?"

"There’s some more in the kitchen. If you’d like, I’ll just – what? Oh, dear!"

"Wait a minute, Ann – your sweater – it’s snagged on the back of – ooops – oh, good Lord! My best wool slacks stuck through with a fishhook! Is this your idea of a joke, Professor?"

"I believe I was asked to do a demonstration on hooks."

"Well, for heaven sake! Ann can slip out of her sweater easy enough, but this is hardly the place to slip out of my pants!"

"I’ll leave you ladies to work out your hook problems, then, and I’ll head on back to the lab."

"Turn off this blog!"

What’s happening on the farm today: A storm brewing. Wind gusting up to fifty and sixty miles an hour at times, and things flying around all over. The metal roof seems about to lift off but I can’t think what to do about it. At sea, you would put out a sea anchor and shorten sail, but one can hardly batten down the trees…

Habit status: Day 3 of round two (interrupted)

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