Effective Openings or How to Hook Your Reader From the Start

WriterMason's Monday Muse News Welcomes 
Annie Oortman and Darlene Buchholz —
15page Style and Grammar Critique
will be awarded to one lucky commenter Tuesday night.
Please leave an email address in your comment so I can reach the winner!

Writers know the opening scene is critical to catching and keeping the reader’s attention. That’s why the beginning of the story is the most revised part. So how do you hook the reader and where do you start a story? Good question.
Empathy Hooks the Reader
You may start your story with action, but you hook your reader through her

Read more »


20 thoughts on “Effective Openings or How to Hook Your Reader From the Start

  1. I love a great first line. It can set the tone of the book and sometimes will make or break a book for me–as a reader.What doesn't work for me is starting a book with a quote (dialogue). I don't know why but that doesn't work for me.What does work for me is a clever or shocking first liner.Here's one of my faves from Evan McNamara's Fair Game:"Ever since we shot half of the Mineral County sheriff's department, my deputy and I have been a little shorthanded."Thanks for a great post!–JCcastlewaldo@gmail.com

  2. Hurray, Rosemarie! You're willing to get rid of something you worked hard to write. Trust us, if you need some of that backstory, you'll find a better place…later. And reveal a tiny bit, only as needed.

  3. Well, I got my opening nailed, finally, but guess what? Now I have to do a total novel rewrite in order to make the rest of the story as good. It just never ends, does it? ;)sulewlu@yahoo.com

  4. I admit that I am one of those readers that needs to be swept off my feet by the end of the first three or so pages or I move on. This underscores the importance of a powerful opening. I love being dropped, as if by by magic, right into the thick of action. A good battle scene, for example, or the aftermath of one, is just one way my attention is grabbed. Kresley Cole does an amazing job with openings, I bow to her. —Christina Teacherchristina@sbcglobal.net

  5. Hey, The Waldos! Ditto on how much I love a dramatic opening. I love ones that grab my sense of curiosity and compel me to keep reading.Here's on of my favorites from Joanne Rock's "The Wedding Knight:" If Lucian Barret had been a righteous, God-fearing man, he might have trembled at the thought of kidnapping a nun.Yours in grammar…annie

  6. Hey Maria & Jan!Good Grammar Divas luck on writing those openings. Remember, first time around, just get it down on paper. Then, go back and edit… and edit… and maybe edit again.Yours in grammar…annie

  7. Hi Christina,Writers must pay attention to the needs of the reader–we don't write just for ourselves–or Mom. And I think your comment that you like to be dropped as if by magic into the thick of things says exactly what the first scene must be!Yours in grammar,Darlene

  8. I love these pointers– thanks for the comments so far writers! Hope you're using this to polish up those ms' for the conferences you're attending this fall. You want that first page to really 'zing' your editor/agent, and this is exactly what I need for my own work. Comments still open through Tuesday before the giveaway.

  9. Great post, Divas! 🙂 Always love to read your advice.Julia Quinn is one of my favorite authors for great openings. I can think of two of her books in particular that made me fall in love with her hero within moments of the book starting. Apparently if you pull my heartstrings with a fantastic hero in the opening, I'm hooked. :)Jamie

  10. Thanks everybody for visiting and commenting. And Thank You Darlene Buchholz and Annie Oortman for your post and lessons. I know I'm ready to start over with these tips!

  11. Man! I'm sorry I missed this discussion. BUT I have printed out the post to put in my writing folder. Great, great stuff here.Thanks for sharing this with us and thanks so much to the Grammar Divas for doing what they do.Tami

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