Long ago, with the ‘classics’, they used to use a chapter or more to set the stage for the book. I can think of a book that was over a 100 pages setting the story. About 20 years ago, you got a couple pages. Now authors have the first line, maybe a paragraph, if you’re lucky a page to catch the reader’s attention.

I think some of that is because of TV. We are used to more instant gratification. In an hour, minus commercial time, we have that whole story.  Still they have changed it a little on hooking their watcher. When I was a kid, names & credits were on the very first, now they’re after the opening scene or at the end. They want to get the reader involved in that story as soon as possible. So quick revamp:

*The Hook: Which is pulling the reader into the story.

*The 1st line − You should catch interest.

*The 1st and 2nd paragraph – you should have them.

* By the end of 1st page – the reader need to want more – some kind of emotional investment or interest.

Each chapter, it should have a hook so you are continually pulling them in.
There are different types of hooks, the ideas, fortunately, are endless.
*a single word or phrase – dialogue that catches
*an action or advent – something that happens that is unexpected or stunning; or the reader knows there is going to be a consequence to.
Any of these are great ways to start just remember to keep it tight. You don’t want a lot of extra words or description and no backstory. That comes later in the coming paragraphs.

Here's where I’m going to add a words of wisdom-

***Remember you can break any rule − if you do it well.***

For a couple examples of hooks I have two books releasing in July, each have very different hooks. 

Example 1) Kare For Me

“What?” Kaira hit the turn signal, pulling into the parking lot in front of Body Kare, the massage therapy clinic she hoped to open in just two days. Kaira climbed out of her car fighting back tears at the sight of black grease smeared across the delicate white letters which she had carefully stenciled on the window.

What did we learn: opening a single word and we have shock, surprise. In the paragraph we learn name, she’s starting a new business, someone is vandalizing her shop so we have a threat, and she is upset so hopefully we feel for her. It gives a lot to build on.

Example 2) Blind Witness

Beemmmp

The single tune caught Rachelle’s attention as Lois, the other person in the small office, transferred the incoming call to her terminal.  With knowing fingers, Rachelle picked up the headphones sliding them on with practiced ease.

“Clairbourne Industries, Mr. Clairbourne nor his personal assistant are available at the moment.  If you would like to leave a message, I will make sure it is brought to their attention.”  She waited.  If it weren’t for the faint breathing sounds on the line, Rachelle would’ve thought whoever it was had hung up.

“Who is this?”  The words were curt, demanding.

“This is Clairbourne’s executive answering service.  If you would like I can redirect your call or take a message.”

There was another long pause.  Rachelle shifted in her seat.  For nearly two months she’d fielded calls for the executive levels of Clairbourne Industries.  She hadn’t felt this uneasy since her first days, and then it was out of concern over her own abilities to handle the job.  She forced a swallow to relieve the dryness that settled in her throat while her hands remained poised over her computer keyboard waiting to input every word exchanged.

“May I ask who is calling?” she asked to break the silence.

“You have a beautiful voice.”  The words came back startling her.  Her fingers paused for a second over the keyboard then the voice continued and so did she.  “Are you as beautiful as you sound?  Soft, sweet, innocent, an angel, Clairbourne’s going to need an angel.  He’s going to die.”

What did we learn: Start a single sound-nothing ominous, then he doesn’t talk, tension climbs, speaks harsh, she swallows - fear is setting in but she holds together. That tells us something about her. Gets a touch eerie - then kicker – “He’s going to die.” Hopefully i have you to want to read more.
If you go another page down you also find another surprise that tilts the story again, but you can probably guess that one.

Anyway, think of your story and how to pull readers into it. If it’s easier for you, some people start writing and get a feel of the story then they go back and rewrite the beginning with a hook.

Whatever works for you is the right.


 


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03/09/2017 1:18am

They say if they used the words "handsome" to hook readers, do not but that book. I don't know what they meant that time, but now I understand. If they are also using a movie poster as book cover, we should also avoid that book at all costs. They say it is a pirated version. Again, I am still not sure what they meant. Honestly I think all books are great.

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