About 16 years ago, we attended a writers’ conference at Winthrop University where Gary Provost conducted several classes. His stories of how to become a published author were unforgettable. But, he made it and became successful. And, even though he had an untimely early death, Gary left a legacy of books and great ideas.

The following excerpt is from “Success, Your Path to a Successful Book,” by Maralyn D. Hill and Brenda C. Hill.

Gary Provost gives ideas a FIT test:

• Familiarity

• Importance

• Truth

“Just because something is familiar does not mean it’s a good story. Or, because something is important to you does not mean it’s a good story. And, because something is true, does not make it a good idea.”

For good ideas, Gary uses the WAGS acronym, which stands for World, Active, Goals and Stakes.

• W-the narrative world is where you’ll take people.

• Active-you want characters that take action.

• Goals-know what your characters want.

• Stakes-begins with trauma and ends with it being resolved.

After attending one of Gary’s workshops in South Carolina, we won’t forget one of his and Peter Rubie’s standard quotes, “Hooking a reader is about catching that reader from the outset: No explanations, no setup or slow windup to your story, but bang—straight into it… Hook them, and you’ll get published not just once, but consistently.”

Non-fiction should also have a hook so the reader will understand why they should read your book and how it will benefit them.

We hope our tips hook you.

Maralyn D. Hill and Brenda C. Hill
Books By Hills
$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book