Next week is the final regular session for my workshop at Christendom College this semester. (There’s one more session, which amounts to a pizza party the day before finals start.) I gave my students a choice of topics for the last two lectures, and they chose “Writing the Opposite Gender” and “Hooking the Reader.” The first was last week, and the second is next week.

Shocking even myself, I started doodling up my lecture notes today, and a familiar phrase went through my head. It’s a line from an old TV movie from 2000 that’s stuck with me as I gradually taught myself to write. “You’re starting your story again,” said the Master Storyteller. “You need to hook your audience again.”

The movie in question is a two-part Hallmark miniseries, Arabian Nights. It’s my second-favorite Hallmark Entertainment TV movie (the top spot going to Leprechauns, which is completely different from the horror movie with a similar title), but I’d only ever seen it once. That’s how strong it was and how much it resonated with me.  Continue reading