“Can You Hook Us?” WINNERS

First let me say one thing: picking winners was NOT an easy task. You guys sent in some great work, and all of it drew our interest in one way or another.

I’ll tell you a bit about the process.

First up, when all the follower’s entries came in, I was careful not to read them as I didn’t want to tie any entries to specific people. I checked for periods–if I saw one or two, you got in. More than that, no.

Then I took all the blurbs and cut and pasted them into Word without the authors identifying them. If you didn’t send in a title, then I listed your title as ‘Unknown’.

I picked my top five, and Becca picked her top five. It turned out there were two we agreed on, so those became instant winners. Of the others we’d each chosen, we agonized until the point of pain until we could each pick one. We then initiated OPERATION: SUDDEN DEATH, where we debated the pros and cons of each. After this, we did three rounds of Rock, Paper, Scissors and finally topped it off with virtual leg wrestling.

It was intense. And exhausting. Becca’s a champ virtual leg wrestler, I kid you not.

And finally…we had another winner.

*Drum Roll*

So, in no particular order…


Bimbi and Tug’s fragile young son is missing from their new home in the Appalachian Mountains and was last seen lurking around a forgotten outhouse. The world beneath them, riddled with caves and abandoned mines seems to have lured him away into a web of decay and certain death.

Why: Interesting location, a non-stereotypical focal character, a strange world beneath an outhouse. It feels original.

By: Bish

When Maya’s mother, and only family, is brutally murdered Maya is thrown into the foster care system. Not only must she deal with the small things, like having a room mate and a new school, but she must deal with her grief and the discovery that the murderer is living in her new back yard.

Why: Foster Care angle, and the murderer living in her backyard. What would that be like, knowing the murderer and living so close to them? What will she do? Lots of good questions here.


In a world where Thinkers control the population and Rules are not meant to be broken, fifteen-year-old Violet Schoenfeld does a hell of a job shattering them to pieces. When secrets about her “dead” sister and not-so-missing father hit the fan, Vi must make a choice: control or be controlled.

Why: The voice comes through here well, speaking of a strong-willed and stubborn character. The suggestion that the sister may not be dead and the father isn’t missing is a huge draw–why would someone mess with you by lying about this? Add this to controlled society…a compelling pitch.

Congrats to all the winners! You can submit your first chapter or 3000 words, whichever comes first, for critique to the contact info in our profiles.

And thanks to everyone who entered! We really enjoyed seeing a glimpse of your projects and there were some great characters and story lines in the mix. Awesome job, everyone!


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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11 years ago

Congrats to the winners!

11 years ago

I left a message for you on your blog. 🙂

11 years ago

Email is still down. Totally wierd cause I still have internet. I wonder if I could post this first chapter on my blogspot page? Do you post these crits anyway? Not sure how it goes. I can post it and you can copy if you think that’s safe enough.

11 years ago

Thanks again for the high five. I have the first chapter ready to send and my email is throwing a tantrum but I’ll persist! Can’t wait for the cits too!

11 years ago

Maybe there’s a secret in that, Elana!

11 years ago

Wow, thanks! I entered at the last moment. And I have a confession to make. I simply took the first sentence of my query letter…and the last. Those were my two sentences. I’m so excited! Thanks you guys! 🙂

Nora MacFarlane
11 years ago

Excellent! Congratulations to the winners!

Nate K.
11 years ago

Wow, great choices. Congrats to the winners!

11 years ago

Congrats winners! Love your pitches. Maybe this will help shape mine up for the future.

11 years ago

I really wish I could have given crits to everyone. You guys were all such good sports to put your work up!

11 years ago

Yay! Congratulations to the winners!

11 years ago

Those do sound like interesting stories. Congrats to the winners!

Lady Glamis
11 years ago

Congratulations to everyone! How exciting. And those are some AWESOME hooks!

Bish Denham
11 years ago

WOW! Thanks Angela and Becca! I’m looking forward to your crits.