on April 25th 2022
Yes, you can hook your readers from page one.
This book is based on a workshop I gave a while ago. Even as I was preparing the workshop, trying to distill the essence of crafting hooky stories in simple, easy-to-understand concepts, I was amazed.
Nobody had ever explained this to me.
Most of the books and courses on writing and structure don’t really touch on that. Truly. You could do all the steps in Save the Cat and totally miss how to hook readers because this information simply isn’t there.
I realized I had found something special; an easy way to help writers identify what works and doesn’t for their beginning paragraphs, and how to get the readers hooked in their stories. And that’s why I’m putting it in this book; because I think my explanation can help writers.
When I say help, I truly mean help, I don’t mean tying writers down with another concept that might stifle their creativity. This book is not about sticking your writing into a box or following rigid rules. While it provides tips and techniques to help you craft stories that readers won’t quit, the advice is simple, easy, and flexible enough not to hinder your writing style or dampen your inspiration. Still, it should quench many of your doubts on whether your writing is hooky or not, so that you can spend more time creating and less time worrying.
I’ll also provide you with advice for beginnings and examples of efficient first paragraphs so that you’ll never again freak out wondering how to start your book. Instead, you’ll feel confident that you can hook your reader from the first page.
I still consider myself a baby author, someone who still has to learn a lot. As part of my studies to learn the craft, I try to follow as many courses and workshops to strengthen my weaknesses. One of them is the opening of my stories. Last year, I had the opportunity to follow Day Leitao’s workshop “Hook Them or Lose Them”. She has bundled her knowledge about this subject into a book that was covered in the workshop.
I made a ton of notes during the workshop and had planned to watch the replay again later to make sure I had everything. Now, I can just check the book for anything I need. While the concepts she discusses aren’t new or groundbreaking, Leitao explains them clearly and well. Her examples are also great study material and I’m looking forward to dissecting my own selection of books to see how they hooked me in.
The next step is making the magic happen in my own writing. I’m working on the outline for my next series at the moment so this book couldn’t have come at a better time. I will definitely spend more time checking my first pages, the chapter openings, and the chapter endings. There’s a lot of improvement to be made there, and I know I won’t be able to get everything right the first time because I don’t want to be stuck in an endless loop of editing trying to nail that beginning when the rest of the story isn’t done yet. But things like creating an emotional connection and making the reader curious about the story are things you can plan for during the outline phase. The pleasant prose is definitely a thing you’d want to tackle at a later stage, either in the revision stage or editing stage.
I’d recommend this book to any writer who’s struggling with openings. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short story, novella, or full-length novel. You can apply these principles to anything that needs a strong hook.