It may be just me, but sometimes I get stuck on the very first chapter of writing a novel/story and I just give up the whole idea, thinking “I’ll never be an author, never make something big, this is shit.” You get me?
What: the hook that grabs your reader’s attention and makes them want to keep reading beyond the first page
When: at the beginning
Where: usually first page
Why: so readers will want to read more and your book can even become a bestseller
How: This is the hard part. You want to write something that instantly catches the reader’s attention. You can actually classify your readers; lifesavers- they read at least the first few chapters before deciding to put your book down, firsts- they only read the first chapter, and rush ones- judge you by the first sentence. That can be scary and sometimes discouraging. But not to fear! Every senpai has a secret. You just have to find it.
Activity (I got this idea from Gail Carson Levine): Pick out a few of your favorite books- if it’s a series, most preferably the first book- and read the first few sentences. Record them and, when you’re done with all the books, compare the beginnings and look for similarities. The result, my friends, is your secret recipe.
A few of mine:
Hunger Games: “When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping.”
Wings of Fire: “A dragon was trying to hide in the storm.”
Harry Potter: “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.”
The Fire Within: “‘Well, here we are,’ Mrs. Pennykettle said, pausing by the door of the room she had for rent. She clasped her hands together and smiled. ‘Officially, it’s our dining room, but we always eat in the kitchen these days.’ The young man beside her nodded politely and patiently adjusted his shoulder bag. ‘Lovely. Erm, shall we take a look…?’”