Entrants into the Write Hook writing contest submitted a 300-word hook which showcased their writing skills. A “Hook” is what grabs the reader and snares him into reading the rest of a book. While there are many hooks throughout a book, this contest focused on the first page of a novel. The winners’ prizes and their Hook submissions are listed below.
EVEN IF A dolphin could shoot a spear gun, Meg figured it probably couldn’t hit the side of a barge. Just the same, she felt a might nervous as the pod of bottlenoses cruised into the halo of her dive light. They circled like sharks, but better armed—sporting harnesses with spear guns on each side, like missiles on a fighter jet. It looked like they could launch with a twist of a flipper. Meg waved the high-intensity beam across the approaching attackers, thinking maybe she could blind them. The first spear shattered the lens and drove the sputtering shell into the darkness.
As her partner glanced up from his camera, Meg could picture his “I told you so” face behind the mask. Howie had tried to talk her out of the midnight dive—if they both survived he’d be downright insufferable. She signaled him to kill his light, but there was no need; a second shot took that out, too.
The moonless gloom made the six fathoms of Gulf of Mexico overhead seem like sixty. She reminded herself to breathe and tried to recall her marine biology. Can dolphins see in the dark? A clicking sound reminded her: echolocation. She and Howie were sitting ducks—no, more like fish in a barrel.
1st place winner will receive written professional feedback of his 300-word submission and his choice of a Writer’s Craft series e-book from Rayne Hall, and an e-Book Cover Design and Kindle Formatting from Eeva Lancaster, owner of The Book Khaleesi, and publication of his Write Hook submission on the Mystery Thriller Week website.
It was one of those nights that sent icy tentacles shooting out of the dark to penetrate the bones, however many layers you wore. The freezing temperatures were something he had grown used to since leaving the comfort of his home in the south for this wild and godforsaken outpost in the north of England. He had done it for love, he supposed, though in hindsight it had just been a lustful fantasy, fuelled by mid-life crisis. Now he had nothing and no one, having sacrificed it all for a dream that was merely that, an ego-infected vision which disintegrated when exposed to the cold light of day.
The bulky donkey jacket he was wearing had to be giving him some protection from the bitter chill. He had worn it on the market stalls in London where he used to work and it did the best job when accompanied by a warm polo-neck jumper in the middle of an English winter. Now, though, it seemed unable to prevent shiver after shiver passing through his arteries, pumped by a pounding heart which seemed to be making him weaker with every beat. Catch-22. If the pumping stopped he knew it would be all over.
Thoughts of the jacket reminded him of a past life, something he wished he could return to every waking moment – a time when Stan Marshall meant something to someone.
2nd place winner will receive his choice of a Rayne Hall Writer’s Craft Series e-book and a Mystery Thriller Week 2017 limited edition T-shirt, and publication of his Write Hook submission on the Mystery Thriller Week website.
A SET OF keys jangled in my hand. The keys were my lifeline. One of them would be what saved the day. And my life. I held onto them as tightly as I could.
I was being followed.
The man running behind me was my stepfather, James Barter. He was holding an axe.
I didn’t want to look over my shoulder to see how close he was getting, and I didn’t have to. I could hear him. Since the yard had not been mowed in weeks, the weeds were high and made a swishing sound against his jeans.
I wish it would have been as easy as calling for help, but my phone was useless; the screen was shattered. Minutes earlier, James had yanked the phone from my hand, thrown it onto the kitchen floor, and crushed it with his steel-toed boot.
Across the wide hay field that stood next to the house, I saw our closest neighbor’s porch light come on.
I yelled as loud as I could into the dark sky, hoping that old Mrs. Henderson would hear and call the cops.
I didn’t slow down. I couldn’t. I knew that if I did I would die.
Main Street was closer than Mrs. Henderson’s house so I kept running. I followed a foot path into a slim set of trees. I could already see the street lights on the other side.
Soon after I emerged from the tree cover, the tall, uncut grasses gave way to scattered gravel around the edge of the train tracks. My bare feet stumbled over the iron rails. I nearly tripped but managed to catch myself before I fell flat on my ass.
3rd place winner receives their choice of a Rayne Hall Writer’s Craft Series e-book and a Mystery Thriller Week 2017 limited edition book bag, and publication of their Write Hook submission on the Mystery Thriller Week website.
Each winner will be contacted to arrange delivery of prizes in accordance with the Write Hook Official Rules. All Write Hook participants agreed to the Release and Limitations of Liability by entering the Write Hook contest.
Mystery Thriller Week thanks the fantastic volunteer efforts of the following:
Final professional judges Rayne Hall and Eeva Lancaster, and committee members Andrew Christie, Linda Kane, Andrew Richardson, and Sherrie Spitz.