Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hooking a Reader

By Margaret West (Guest Blogger)

In the beginning god gave us light!! LOL I’ve always wanted to start a paragraph off with that. Which brings me to the point of this article. I’m always hearing how editors tell authors they must ‘hook’ a reader. It brings to mind the old rod and fish wire scenario. But if you think about it, how many times do we sit down to watch a film only to be bored to death within the first few minutes? In this age where competition is rife, grabbing a reader’s attention is like holding onto a slippery fish. Fast, fierce and riveting should be the things aimed for with a hook. A new angle, twist of writing style sets you apart from the rest.

I remember reading a book, Night Visions, by Ariana Dupre. I was completely thrown that her witch character, was a man. A rather, hunky one to boot. What a twist, when all the foreshadowing made me feel like she was the usual ‘hag witch’! Be honest now. How many books have you picked up then cast aside because they just don’t do it for you? I have had two this month.

The greatest gift a reader can give an author is the words, ‘I could not put the book down’. My last release The Heart of a Warrior, received an amazing review last week, but the one thing that struck me was the fact she said, even when she put the book down, she was still thinking bout the story and characters.

You need to sit down and really think who your first readers are. Over-worked editors and agents. Look for a ‘hook’ straight away. A crashing noise, explosion, head chopping off (if you write horror lol) is a first sentence hook. It compels a reader to read on and see what’s happened. This is so important and each page should end with a page turner. You want your reader to want to turn that page. So remember, even one word can hook. Don’t be afraid to cast out your rods with hooks made of steel.


Born in England, Margaret moved to the Kent countryside five years ago to get away from the busy life in London. She is married with two grown up children. She is a working medium, based in a London Spiritualist church and when not writing her novels, works as an Angel Therapist, Crystal Therapist, Parapsychologist and Psychic Development tutor.

She’s been writing over 20 years in various fields: academic modules, novels, short stories, magazine columns and Blue Mountain sympathy card range. Her main love is writing paranormal romance, incorporating her spiritual experiences into her books.

To buy my books, visit my Amazon page.


Debby said...

Hooking the reader is so important. I love books that kkep me glued to the seat. I plan on checking out your book. I am going to Borders today. debby236 at att dot net

Colleen said...

There have been a few books that I had to make myself finish... being left behind with a feeling of what a waste of time... one book took me two years to finish and I usually finish a book in a day or two!
I want that hook, but I also want the story as a whole to keep me interested... want to put the book down and have a smile on my face!

Fedora said...

It's true that a good hook can work for grabbing my interest! But as Colleen mentioned, an author also needs to continue to deliver--a hook alone won't overcome boredom or poor characterization or lackluster plotting in subsequent chapters. But a strong hook can keep me reading to appreciate the fine writing in chapters to come :)

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