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6 Ways to Hook Your Readers

Although I consider myself an avid reader, I must admit I have a short attention span when it comes to getting into books. If you fail to grab my attention in the first few lines, I start spacing out. Most readers are like me. Most people don’t want to spend the first 50 pages trying to get into a book. Here are a few things I find annoying in the first lines of a story: Dialogue. The last thing you want to do as a writer is annoy or bore people. (N.B. 1. Put a question in your readers’ minds. “Those old cows knew trouble was coming before we did.” 2. By starting at an important moment in the story, your reader is more likely to want to continue so he or she can discover what will happen next. “It was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she’d been told.” 3. Description is good when it encourages people to paint a picture in their minds. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” 4. 5. “They had flown from England to Minneapolis to look at a toilet.” 6.

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Set up Your Story in the First Paragraphs by Jodie Renner, editor, author, speaker I receive several first chapters (and synopses) every week as submissions for possible editing, and I always read the first page. Some are clear and compelling and make me want to read more. But too often, two main problems emerge: Either the author spends too much time revving his engine with description or backstory before we even care (boring); or we’re plunged right into the story but have no idea where we are or what’s going on (confusing).

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