The Opening Hook #ThrowbackThursday
The following is an excerpt from my book, The Plot Thickens: 21 Ways to Plot Your Novel. A link to buy can be found here. The first chapter addresses the importance of writing the opening hook.
How to Take the Headache Out of Starting Your Book
STOP STARING at that blinking curser and start your book. How? With a mind-blowing opening hook.
Even if you’re new to writing, you know the importance of the opening hook. It grabs your reader’s attention and convinces him to buy.
Without a compelling, question-producing opening, they aren’t going to read further. You have a few sentences to make an impression. Nowadays, no one has the luxury of time. You have to hit them fast and hard.
Your reader wants to be drawn into a believable world from word one. He expects to be entertained. Don’t disappoint him. Skip the protagonist sitting with a cup of coffee, contemplating the letter she received from dear Aunt Sally. Jump her right into the story—Aunt Sally died, but collecting the inheritance means quitting the job your protagonist loves and moving back to the town that gave her heartache.
Conversely, don’t plunge the reader so quickly into the story with a one-line exclamation from the protagonist. The reader has no context in which to place it. It’s a cheap device that’s been overused.
Instead, start where the protagonist’s problem begins, raise questions that intrigue the reader, and filter in back-story later.
What is a hook? It’s a device to catch the reader’s attention and pull him into the story.
A hook prepares the reader for what’s ahead—the immediate future of a character and introduces the conflict. It sets the mood and style and gives the setting—all the elements of who, what, why, when, where and how.
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