How Sharp Is Your Hook?

One of the things we’re told as writers is to make sure we GRAB the reader on page one, preferably with the first couple of sentences. If we don’t, then there’s a good chance we’ll lose a potential reader. As a writer, I get the importance of opening up with a BANG! Snag the reader and make him/her want to keep reading.

But it’s a challenge for me. I spend a good deal of time writing and rewriting the first few sentences of an opening scene because I have a tendency to over-write. I like to set up the scene. The best advice I’ve heard/read on openings is from Jennifer Crusie. She said during an RWA lecture: Begin where the trouble begins. I try to remember this.

When I’m reading, a story with a bangin’ first page isn’t a requirement. I don’t mind a story that doesn’t explode until page three or five. Some story need to have Pop Rock openings. A bunch of tiny bursts, leading up to the bang. I’m cool with that. Also, what gets me reading and will keep me reading beyond the first few pages is back cover/dust jacket blurb.

Do you struggle with writing grabby openings? If your hooks are sharp, please share some tips. As a reader, how important is a story’s opening? If it doesn’t grab you, do you stop reading or keep on keeping on?

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7 Comments

Filed under Kimberly, writing

7 responses to “How Sharp Is Your Hook?

  1. talesfromthecrit

    You know, I have the worst trouble with this too. I have, which I’m sure you know since you’ve read my work, this insatiable urge to give back story. It’s like I can’t help it. I open my document and spew out BS. But I’m going to keep reading responses today and see if I can pick up any pointers too. 🙂

    AJ

  2. talesfromthecrit

    I like to think I do well in openings. I tend to lean towards the snappy dialogue first sentence though.

  3. talesfromthecrit

    Shoot…That is from me, INEZ.

    Grrr…Log in next time, ya’ dummy.

  4. talesfromthecrit

    I know, lol. I was thinking, “Who the heck is that?”

  5. jodi

    wow, that’s the sure sign of a divided mind. All four responses were from tfc, lol.

    I have no tips. I forgot it was satu–er, friday. (it IS friday, right?) Happy friday….

  6. I’m pretty good at writing openings. One of my strengths as a writer is that I’m visual and action-oriented. (Logic, however? Ahem.)

    But I always start with trouble. Right smack dab in tuh middle o’ it. If I’m not interested in where I begin, I figure no reader will be.

    Listening to music–or a certain song that fit’s the scene/mood/feeling you want to write–is my best tip.

    While drinking a glass of wine.

  7. lawrenceez

    Hi,

    Just posted something on openings and writing in general. A dramatic opening doesn’t necessarily pull readers into a story.

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