Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dark Shadows and the Art of the Hook


My local library recently acquired a full set of episodes from the original Dark Shadows series. If you were around in the late 60's and early 70's, you might have watched this TV soap opera with its tales of 'Gothic mystery and supernatural intrigue'. I remember rushing home from school during fifth grade to find out what twist of fate tormented Barnabas Collins—my introduction to vampires—and the residents of Collinsport. Vampires have come a long way since then.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've enjoyed watching the first seventy or so episodes filmed late in 1966, prior to the appearance of Barnabas. Dark Shadows is wonderfully campy with its dated clothing and hairstyles. The acting feels exaggerated, theatrical, as if performed onstage. What struck me most is the art of the 'hook'.

Each episode opens with a hook. At the splice where the commercial would be when seen on TV, the viewer is left at a hook and the story reopens with a hook. And each episode ends with a hook.

How does this relate to romance?

Each chapter of a romance novel should open with a hook and end with a hook. Each scene within the chapter should open with a hook and end with a hook.

I expect in the future to be more cognizant of hooks in the stories I write.

Do you remember Dark Shadows?

10 comments:

Mona Risk said...

Great post Dawn. I twitted it and shared it on Facebook.

Vonnie Davis said...

Remember Dark Shadows? I see them everytime I look in the mirror. I buy concealer by the drumful. LOL Yes, I do remember the series. I thought Barnabas was the bomb.

You're right about the hook. I don't use it to its advantage. I tend to want to wrap up a scene at chapter's end. This is obviously an area I need to work on. Yikes! Great post.

Jill James said...

There was a remake in the late 70's early 80's I think. I saw a couple of episodes of the original, but I loved the remake. I was so shocked to see the movie was a comedy.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I loved soap operas and certainly remember Dark Shadows and Barnabas. It's so fun to hear the show is back so younger people can get a taste of what we had to watch.

I really do try to make sure each of my chapters open and close on a hook. I do think it is especially good if you stop reading for a while because it pulls you right back into your story.

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Hi, Mona. Thanks so much! You're a sweetheart.

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

LOL, Vonnie. I plan to watch my hooks in the future. Thanks for dropping in!

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Yeah, Jill, but I really like Johnny Depp. :) Thanks for stopping by.

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Hey, Paisley. I hope to use hooks to keep my readers from putting my books down. But it is true a good hook gets you right back into the story had you put the book down. Thanks for visiting!

Josie said...

I don't remember ever watching the original Dark Shadows but remember hearing about it. I'll have to check it out.

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Definitely do, Josie. Thanks for stopping by.