by C. Patrick Schulze
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We've all heard how important it is to begin your NOVEL with an effective hook. The reason, of course, is your novel's hook helps potential readers make many of their decision about your book. Be it AGENTS, publishers or readers, everyone seeks out these first few words and these lines make a lasting impression.
When I focused on that first paragraph, I spent a great deal of time to research how to write my novel's hook and I thought I'd pass along some of the better tips I found.
By the way, I just made up these hooks as I wrote this article, so cut me some slack if they're not up to par, okay? After all, there's just examples.
1. You may craft an opening that sets a mood. This is the method I employed in "Born to be Brothers" when I wrote, "Something was about to die."
2. One alternative is to pique the reader's curiosity. "I always wondered how it felt to die."
3. You might pen a line that compares two things not normally associated with each other. "Jackson couldn't decide if he should go to his father's wedding or his mother's funeral."
4. You can have your main character perform an action. "He mumbled to himself as he lifted the pocket watch from the dead man's vest."
5. You may wish to indicate something is about to change in a radical fashion. "I felt my body grow lighter as it began to blend with the fog."
6. Why not begin with an intriguing person or place. "The countryside looked as if an artist had painted his fondest vision."
7. One choice is to have a character speak about an unusual situation. "Yep, I seen it all. It exploded and blew that guy to kingdom come."
8. Another option is to offer your reader something unexpected. "The aircraft crashed into the ground with a fiery explosion. Then the pilot stepped out and dusted himself off as if it was all in a day's efforts."
9. You might open your novel with dialogue. "Are you ready to tell me about it now?"
10. Yet another opportunity lies within immediate conflict. "She knew she'd get in trouble even as she clinched her fist." I'm working on my next novel and this is how it starts, at least in the first draft.
11. A strong hook can begin with an emotion. "I hated that man from the moment I met him."
12. Yet another opening hook might be to offer your reader a puzzle. "I wondered how could a human being shrink so much in one night?"
13. Have you ever thought to startle your reader? How's this? "I never knew humans tasted like chicken."
Of course, there are any number of other methods by which to create your novel's hook, and you can even combine two or three of these ideas for maximum effect. Regardless, your goal is to draw your reader into the story and you've got only one chance to do so. Best of luck with it.
Now, does anyone have a hook they'd like to share with our readers?
I hope by now you know, I wish for you only best-sellers.
C. Patrick Schulze
Author of now-at-the-editors novel "Born to be Brothers"