H is for Hook



Getting the opening sentence of a story right is so important. This is what hooks the reader and entices them to read on. The opening sentence is generally short with a strong verb that causes an immediate reaction in the reader. When I choose a book, if I’m immediately hooked by the opening line, I will buy. My favourite authors who, in my view, are excellent at hooking their readers from the offset are: James Carol, David Baldacci, James Rollins, Elly Griffiths, Jeffrey Deaver and Leigh Russell, to name but a few.  The hook is key to engaging the reader and to making sales.

Are you hooked by opening lines? What entices you to buy?

Comments

  1. Opening lines are important to me when I buy or choose a book. I'm always fretting about my own and never sure if I've gotten it right. I have to force myself to move on when I start a story because I get so hung up about the opening. :)
    Fran
    @FranClarkAuthor
    Writing Women’s Fiction

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    1. I do exactly the same, Fran. To stop myself from progressing with a story, I do spend time exercising opening lines and just opening lines. It's great fun.

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  2. I am really impressed by good opening lines. But the premise of the story is more important for me.

    Cheers,
    Seena
    #AtoZChallenge- H is for Hormones

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    1. Thank you for popping over Seena. Have a lovely weekend.

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  3. I can tell if I'm going to enjoy a book by the way the author opens it. It's not so much what he says, but how s/he puts the words together--the style.

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    1. The same goes for me, Lee. Thanks for popping over during this busy time. Lovely to 'see' you. Have a lovely day off tomorrow.

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  4. I often don't read the opening line--so it's usually the cover and description that call out to me.

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    1. I do pick up a book due to its cover and then read the first line. Covers are also important. Actually, everything is important when writing a book :):)

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  5. I'm getting better with opening lines. They are difficult.

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  6. Not just the hook, I look at the middle of the book as well, check a bit of dialogue or narrative and read the back blurb. Covers can be a turn-off though so I like the covers to represent what the book is about to some extent. It should echo the mood of the book.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts. I agree about the cover.

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  7. What entices me to buy? The cover is first. If it catches my eye, then I'll read the book description. If I like it and the price is in a good price range, then I'll purchase before reading anything inside the book. If the price is a bit higher than I can afford at the time, I'll download a sample. If I enjoy the sample, then I'll add the book to my wish list to buy. Of course, if it's an author I know and love, then I'm more likely to buy without considering cover/book description/first few pages/etc.

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    1. I am a little less pernickity with authors I know and love too, Cherie. Thank you for popping by.

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  8. yes the opening of a short story and first few paragraphs of a novel tell me whether i would continue reading or not

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  9. I need at least a whole paragraph to get hooked. Or maybe a good blurb on the back :)

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    1. Blurbs are important to get right too :)

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  10. If the first paragraph doesn't hold me the book won't. I struggle to get beyond a bad start. :)

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    1. Me too, Yolanda. I don't have much patience to 'get into' a book. I need to be hooked straight away.

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  11. I must be one of the very few people who agrees completely with the first para hook principle, but forgets to apply it when buying books. I actually go more by the title and the blurb, I don't open the book before its bought. Actually, good reviews are what persuade me more than anything else in choosing a book. No better hook than a friend's reco! :)

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  12. The first line doesn't sell me so much as the first few pages. I buy a lot on the voice and style more than the plot. But yeah, that first line leads me to read the second.
    Susan Says

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    1. Thank you for popping over, Susan.

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  13. What entices me to buy is the book blurb. And although a first line hook is nice, it's not necessarily what hooks me. What does that is the style of writing, and if I get a strong sense of character, place, and plot within the first chapter or two.

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Bish. Have a lovely weekend.

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  14. Like Steph it's the description that calls out to me when I get a book. Sometimes even a great cover. But hooks are important and I enjoy getting pulled into the story.

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    1. I love to get lost in a story too, Sheena. Thank you for visiting.

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  15. with me first sentence of a story and first few paras of a book decide the issue, thanks for stopping by on my blog

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    1. Thank you. I love stopping by your blog :)

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  16. Hi there great post! I am here via bonus challenge. Happy blogging and see you again soon.
    Best Wishes,
    Annette

    My A2Z @ Annette's Place | Follow Me On Twitter

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  17. I get about 70% of my reading material from the library, so it's often the cover and title which catch my eye. Then I'll look at the opening/hook, and maybe read a page in the middle to get a feel for writing style. :)

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  18. A great opening sentence can hook me, but I usually read the back cover or the blurb on Amazon so I know whether it's something I'll probably like before I buy.

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  19. The opening line and first few pages do it for me! If you don't get my interest from the onset, I discard it!

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  20. I love those powerful opening lines, but they aren't only what entices me to buy... it's usually the cover and title first (um-ah), then the sample pages as a whole (the hook).

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  21. Two classics with unforgettable hooks are Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and Anna Karenina by Tolstoy (though I haven't read Tolstoy's story to the end)
    Writer In Transit

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  22. I have a huge quirk with reading. I always finish a book.
    I'm also a book snob and prefer literary books. It was a big surprise to me that the marketplace prefers genre books. But it makes sense. That is what most media celebrates.
    I also like to read used books of writers who are midlist. I do read bestsellers but there is a dullness to them to me. I like that texture of a regional writer.

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