Friday, May 7

How Do You Hook A Reader?

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Conversation questions: As a reader, how does an author hook you within the very first few lines of a book or story? As an author, how do you hook a reader with your opening? Share the best opening youve ever written, or share one youre currently battling with (and inform us what the battle is). And do not hesitate to talk about another authors opening! Does it make you want to read more?

YOU HAVE TO GET THE READERS ATTENTION WITH YOUR FIRST LINE!

Your first few lines are your only chance to make a good impression. In journalism its typically called the hook, so called since its your chance to get the fish– i.e., the reader– on your line. To make the reader take your bait and then keep taking your bait.

It can be hard to unlock those doors, and even if we do, they can be creaky, and, oh god, this line is horrible. (Thankfully I already have you on the hook!).

Its of utmost importance in fiction, too.

Theres a reason the internet is plentiful with lists of the very best and most well-known opening lines: Clocks striking 13, particular homes being spiteful, instructions to call someone Ishmael, queer, sultry summertimes complete of electrocuted spies. “First sentences are doors to worlds,” wrote Ursula K. Le Guin.

But in a more classy, far less obnoxious and apparent way than Ive done here.

How do you write a good opening?

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I dont know!

Or share a few examples of your favorite openings as a reader.

Whats the very best opening youre capable of? In the comments listed below, share your favorite of your own opening lines, fiction or non. (Try to cap it at 100 words or so; the longer it is, the less most likely that individuals will read it!).

I do understand a couple of things I do not actually like:.

If a reader likes the very first line, he/she will be more inclined to read the second. He/shell be more inclined to check out the third if he/she likes the 2nd. And so on, until “connected.”.

( For you YB Patreon customers, theres also a fun EIME game about the opening lines of books.)

— Writers trying * so * hard to be extensive or to reveal off their lyrical prowess that they communicate nothing about the story.

It really boils down to this:.

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Also, in an August 2019 Yak Babies episode we discussed what we like and dont like about the starts of books. I do not remember what I talked about. Does not August 2019 look like 6 life times ago?

— Any opening Ive ever written.

— Novels that open with discussion (looks like most of you do not like it either).

Im presently working on my 8th various opening paragraph for a short story I want to send. Its not getting better every time, but the present variation is the best so far.

Or share what you try to find in the opening lines of books, stories, journalism, etc

. Are you currently fighting with an opening? Share it below and tell us what the struggle is.

And while youre here, aid another writer out by offering some feedback on an opening or more

As an author, how do you hook a reader with your opening? Share the best opening youve ever written, or share one youre currently struggling with (and inform us what the battle is). And dont be afraid to comment on another writers opening! In the comments listed below, share your favorite of your own opening lines, fiction or non. Or share what you look for in the opening lines of books, stories, journalism, and so on

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WriteByNight composing coach and co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has discussed books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

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