Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Book Hooks

I think we'll spend the next couple of days discussing hooks for your books.


Let’s say you have to go on a business trip or you’re going to visit your family and you need a good book to bury your face in while your brothers and sisters argue over who gets the house when your parents are dead. By the way, your parents are sitting right there, alive and well.

Okay, yes, this has happened to me, although I only have sisters.

Now that you know this situation is inevitable, you need to get a good book to read. With so many books available, how will you choose the book you want to take with you?

Standing at the newspaper stand in the airport, you have five minutes to get a book. Staring at the wall of books, shuffling your feet back and forth, you pull one out. What do you look at to decide if that is the book you want to take on that 3-hour flight to tune out the screaming kids all going to Disney?

Come on, we have all been on that plane ride.

Some people judge a book by its cover, some will read the blurb on the back, and yet others will read the first page. Remember you only have five minutes to make a decision because they have just announced that your flight is boarding.

Whether the reader is a man or woman off the street, an editor, or an agent, five minutes is the rule of thumb to capture a reader and get them to want to read more and buy your book.

This is what you, the writer, need to keep in mind when you are writing the very first page of your book. No matter what you write, you have only five minutes to hook your reader. Therefore, your hook needs to be on that first page, in the first paragraph, even better the first sentence of your story.

Here is your first exercise for Book Hooks.

Exercise: Post a first sentence of a book you have written or one from your WIP, or even just do a free write. Feel free to post several examples.

My examples:

A warning whisper in the back of her mind didn’t stop Ruby from pushing open her fiancé’s bedroom door. - from It Happens in Threes

Tiny hairs danced on the back of Charley’s neck. - from Connect the Dots

When she discovered her date wore pink women's underwear with frills, Jane did not stick around to find out what else he may or may not have. - from my Pink Undie story free write

She had turned the place upside down, inside out, and could not find it. - free write

Have fun and look forward to seeing what you write!


Carmen Shirkey April 28, 2009 at 7:34 AM  

I was on my umpteenth bad date this month.
This particular bad date was explaining to me how he really wasn’t “in” to dating, but he was “in” to having sex. Doesn’t that make my heart go all aflutter?


Denise April 28, 2009 at 8:35 AM  


I think that opener hooks anyone of dating age.

If you haven't read Carmen's book, "The List", you need to check it out.


I read it and loved it!


Ceri Hebert April 28, 2009 at 1:45 PM  

Can't wait to add mine when I get home!

Very good first lines, Denise, and I like the one from The List too.

Ceri Hebert April 28, 2009 at 5:48 PM  

~“…I hope that someday you’ll forgive me.” ~~from the short story I'm writing.

~"I don't do that kind of magic, Mr. Riordan," Charlotte declared for the fourth time. ~~from That Kind Of Magic, currently submitted to Kensington for consideration.

~Victoria Barron strode up the aisle past the empty stalls, inhaling the woody scent of fresh shavings combined with the distinct essence of horse. ~~from Finally Home published by Whiskey Creek Press

~Jaycie rode as if demons were biting at her heels. ~~from Forever Home currently submitted to L & L Dreamspell.

Denise April 28, 2009 at 7:58 PM  


I especially liked Jaycie rode as if demons were biting at her heels.

Makes me wonder why.


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