The Hook: Catching Your Reader On the First Page

How many times  have you started reading a book, and put it down? Or you've recommended a book with the caveat, "Once you get past the first (chapter, 50 pages, etc.), it gets better". As a writer, I cringe at the thought of a reader reacting like that to my story.

So it's time to sharpen the hook.

I've been reading a book about hooking your reader (come back tomorrow for the review), and I've been impressed with the importance of crafting a great opening scene that will suck readers into the story.

This fantastic beginning will serve you in three ways: it will pull an agent into your story, giving you a publishing professional who will work to find a home for it. It will convince an editor at a publishing house to take a chance on an unknown writer. And finally, it will cause readers to buy your book, and (hopefully) recommend it to their friends.

Of course, if the rest of your book doesn't live up to the beginning, you will be guilty of a bait-and-switch tactic.

I checked the sites of several agents, editors and writers to see what they had to say on the topic. Remember, I'm learning all this as I go. Writing this blog is just a way for me to be a little more intentional about it.

Editorial Anonymous explains why you don't need bait, if you've got a hook (for more post on hook from this blog, click here).

Cindy R. Wilson explains the four elements of a good hook.

Examples of great first lines from Poetic Serendipity.

Agent Kathleen Ortiz explains why a great query hook will help her overlook a not-so-great query, and cause her to request pages.

Suzanne Hartmann's do's and don'ts for a good hook, and her anatomy of a good hook.

Come back tomorrow for my review of a book entirely devoted to making the start of your story the best it can be.


  1. Yes indeed, readers want to be drawn into a book from the first page. Take a look at how I use this technique at the preview chapters to my new book, KT Erwin



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