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That's A Wrap, or was that a Hook?
by Jon Alessandro

"We are so pleased to let you know that your true short story has been selected to be sent to our publisher for consideration in volume two of GOD ALLOWS U-TURNS." Wow! Following simple guidelines, my work had been accepted for publication.

I wrote an article detailing the time I had lost my dad's fishing hat. I consulted my "writing" mentor, Dan Case, as to where I could possibly sell this kind of inspirational story. He read the story and though it had tremendous potential, though it could use some work. He offered a few suggestions from his and Peggy Fielding’s book, The Complete Guide to Writing & Selling Magazine Articles.

I needed a "hook" for the reader. Originally, my story began, "As a rule, my dad did not spend an exorbitant amount of time with me as I grew up but there were those rare moments when we braved life’s storms together." The anecdote simply began, providing limited interest for the reader. "Before, you will be able to sell your work," Dan wisely counseled, "you must "hook" your readers." He suggested I pull from the middle of the story where all of the action was and create the hook from there. After careful consideration, I began to work on the "hook". This had to be something that would grab the reader's interest and draw them into the story. My story now began this way, "SPLASH! The water was cold and murky. My dad’s favorite fishing hat went sailing off my head as I scrambled and kicked trying to keep my head above the water." Once my labor was completed, I was once again ready to submit my masterpiece.

Dan gave the story another once over and said, "Now, grasshopper, you must end this with a good wrap up." "A wrap what?" I said naively. I learned that the hook was your beginning and the wrap was your ending. I had to go back to the drawing, or should I say, the writing board. A good wrap up should tie your reader back to the beginning making the story complete. Well, I suppose he should know what he’s talking about. So, my next step was to put in the "wrap".

Dan knew of a book similar to the volume series Chicken Soup for the Soul called God Allows U-Turns and suggested I send this article to them. I went to their website, www.godallowsuturns.com, and found their writer guidelines and read them thoroughly. I began to have self-doubts, because I did not have a great deal of experience writing. I wondered if my story was properly tailored or maybe not inspirational enough to be accepted. Overlooking such doubts, I boldly submitted my story.

I WROTE the story, TAILORED and POLISHED it with a "hook" and a "wrap". Just as importantly, I SUBMITTED it according to the guidelines provided. My anxiety turned to elation when I discovered my article had been sent to the publisher and was accepted for the book series God Allows U-Turns: Volume Two which will be out October 2001.

© Copyright 2001, Jon Alessandro

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