Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tuesday Tip: Hook the Reader!

It is very important to engage your readers from the first sentence, so be sure it is a strong one.  If it’s not, the reader may never reach the final sentence. You never get a second chance to make that first impression.

What are some of the best ways to hook your reader? Keep reading…

1.       Drop the reader in on the action. By starting with an interesting, action-packed scene, the reader will want to continue reading until their questions are answered.
2.      Begin with an interesting character. From the start, make the reader see why your character is intriguing and different.
3.      Make your first sentence short and attention grabbing. Make the reader wonder what you have planned next.
4.      Address questions that will be answered during the story. This minor mystery will keep the reader engaged.
5.      Keep dialogue out of the first sentence, in most cases. Somewhere on the first page is fine for this, but it can be confusing to start this way. The reader will not understand who is speaking, and at this point, they have no reason to care.
6.      Don’t be overly detailed with unnecessary information. It’s a surefire way to lose the reader.
7.      Don’t overload the reader with all of your characters at once.
8.      Begin with a simple fact that is important to the plot.
9.      Make the first sentence vivid.
10.  Be sure it fits with the remainder of your novel.

The first sentence paves the way for the rest of the book. Keep it simple and engaging. Take the time to craft the first sentence, as it will hook the reader through the remainder of the story.

Here are a few examples from author Jeff Gerke:
·         “Once he decided to kill himself, the rest was easy.” (from Virtually Eliminated)
·         “Today I’m going to kill a man in cold blood.” (from Operation: Firebrand)

Both of these sentences grab you immediately. Why is someone planning to commit suicide? Why does someone plan to kill a man? What’s happening? It will make your reader continue reading.

Now it’s your turn. Feel free to share the first sentence from your work in progress in the comments below. Happy writing!

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