Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Grab the Reader and Don't Let Go

“A narrative hook is called by many different names, but all it means is that there’s something interesting or intriguing at the beginning of the story to catch your interest and make you want to go on to page 2.” -- David. X. Manners in The Writer’s Digest Guide to Good Writing.
Today’s readers have short attention spans. At least that’s what I read over and over. I find in my own reading that if I don’t become interested in a story within the first couple of paragraphs, or chapters for a novel, I tend to move on. I started a story last week that began with three paragraphs of description! I never made it to the end.

This need to grab the reader right away makes it more important for me to open my stories with a strong hook. I make sure that my readers know what the main character’s problem is, or at least that he has one, by the end of the first paragraph. I also attempt to write opening sentences that peak the reader’s curiosity. If the reader decides to stop before the end, it’s not because I didn’t do my best to grab his attention from the beginning.

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