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Saguaro Romance Writers – RWA Chapter 58, Tucson, Arizona

Mary Buckham's photoOn January 23, I was pleased to be able to attend a tele-conference arranged by the Tucson Chapter of the RWA. Mary Buckham was our presenter via Skype. It’s always a pleasure to have a speaker who is not only a workshop leader but is an author as well. Ms. Buckham is a USA Today bestselling author, the author of the ‘Writing Active Series’ as well as a co-author of ‘Break Into Fiction’ with NYT author Dianna Love. As well, she has written numerous high-concept urban fantasy series, romantic suspense and young adult sci-fi/fantasy.

The morning session focused on setting. She reminded authors to anchor the reader in the setting and to assume that the reader has never been there. Also, that each character views the setting through their own point of view. She used great examples to illustrate her points.

The afternoon session focused on hooks. As she reminds us, “The strongest hooks raise questions or reactions in a reader.” Those reactions can include:

1. Action or danger
2. Humour
3. Overpowering Emotion
4. Surprising Situation
5. Evocative
6. Unique Character
7. Warning with or without Foreshadowing
8. Shocking or Surprising Dialogue
9. Totally Unexpected
10. Raising a Question

I really enjoyed the Evocative Hook. As Ms. Buckham said, “It’s one of the hardest hooks to write. Literary word painting. Strong author’s voice. An approach that forces the reader to adjust to the author’s approach to telling their story.”

Here is the sample that she shared written by Elizabeth Berg.

You know before you know of course. You are bending over the dryer, pulling out the still warm sheets, and the knowledge walks up your backbone.

I appreciated the fantastic hand-out for the afternoon workshop and the welcoming atmosphere of the Tucson RWA.

If you have the opportunity to attend a workshop presented by Mary Buckham, I would highly recommend it.


  1. Wonderful blog, Jodie! Mary Buckham is a gem. She is not only talented but so very generous to fellow authors. I’m currently reading her recently published “A Writer’s Guide to Active Settings” and I’m loving it. Thank you Mary for re-releasing this book with Writer’s Digest!

  2. Thank you Jodie for a wonderful recap of this event. It was such a pleasure to have you attend! Thank you for also picking one of my favorite examples of an evocative hook, too!
    Cheers ~ Mary B 🙂

  3. Great blog, Jodie. Mary Buckham is a great writer. I’ve met her about a year ago through a FB Book Release Party. I’ve since had the privilege of being one of her betareaders on both fiction and non-fiction books. She has become one of my favorite writers.

  4. Mary is a wonderful teacher and presenter! I attended her workshop in a different location and was also inspired. I understood the need for hooks, but it was really helpful to have a breakdown of the different types and what makes them effective.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment Cathy. I’m so glad that I was able to attend. It was a long day for my husband, who was in ‘wait mode’ in the truck. He did however find a few things to do.

  5. Mary is such a kind and funny person. She’s is generous with her time and talent for those interested in starting or improving their craft.
    She is super when it comes to her many fans. She is personable and hilarious. I’m a huge fan.

  6. I was sorry to miss the event, thanks for the summary here. I have found a lot of good info in Mary’s active setting books myself. It’s always good to learn new ideas especially with great examples!!

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