Monday, May 18, 2015

Hooking Your Reader, five things to consider

Let's talk about hooking :-). Don't you want to grab your reader in the first line as they sort through novels at the book store? Can you start with a line so enticing that they have to see if the rest is like the first line in the book? I'm aiming for that goal.
1. Go straight to the action or a crucial scene that will move the story into a page turner. 
         EX: "I screamed bloody murder when I saw that a car was heading into the lobby of my downtown office." This is better than starting with her coming down the stairs to a car that has already come through the glass entrance.
2. Don't use too much flowery language or words that have to be researched to get the point.
          EX:  Paul West's words, "a certain amount of sass to speak up for prose that's rich, succulent and full of novelty." 
          What would be your first thought when you opened up a book and saw this as the opening line? Me? I'd put it down and go for something else.
3. Some words are attention grabbing yet can completely throw the reader for a loop.
         EX: "His mother@*% girlfriend *itch slapped me across my f^&))( mouth."
          Yes, I was kind and yes, I have seen things like this. I was okay with it as the book was from someone that I knew wrote in that manner so I wasn't as offended as I would have been from someone else. I'm great with people using some words, if the scene calls for it, but just make sure of how you handle this kind of opening.
4. Jokes can be a great opener, depending on the humor used and if it's relevant to the story line.
          EX: "So we're friends now, when do the benefits kick in?" This would be great for a romantic comedy but not if you're doing a regency or an inspirational.
5. Go for a power play and use strong words. 
          EX: "The ground shook under my feet and I fought not to fall down the flight of brick steps as the out of control car went barreling through the glass of the front lobby." Sounds better than: I was on the third step when a sedan came through the glass walls of the lobby and had me grabbing the rail for support.

I hope this helps.

)))Corset Hugs(((
Ginny Lynn
Wench Writer


  1. Great post! One of the problems I've seen in books lately is a fantastic hook that grabs me, but then leaves me hanging. The hook is fantastic, but it doesn't really fit into the story. In your writing process, how and when do you develop your hook?

    1. I typically come up with one before I even have the first chapter fully written. I use it as my motivation to keep the feel of it going. I will tell ya that some of my hooks have been reworked as I may have gotten them but my beta readers were either overwhelmed or confused by them. It's easier for me to come up with the first line hook than the book blurb, sad to say. Thanks!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Jillian. I'm a pantser so any tool that I can understand is one that I need to share.