Sunday, April 19, 2015

What Hooks a Reader on a Story? # rndrobin0415

Topic: What glues you to a story start to finish? What hooks do you use to capture your readers?

How to hook my readers?

Workshops, how-to-books, and instructors will say it’s the first two paragraphs, the first one hundred words, the blurb, the cover. . .etc. that will hook your readers.
As a rule, I agree these statements are true. 

The key statement is “as a rule”.

I write what I like to read.  I like a strong opening hook, witty dialogue, or a detailed description of a setting, all have their place and all appeal to me.  If I have had a stressful day, I may prefer a book with more narrative.  A humdrum day, a fast-paced book with a strong action hook is perfect.  I assume my readers preferences are the same. 

The story dictates the hook and the tone of my story.  Always.

When I chose print books, I look at the cover, read the blurb, and scan the first three pages.  Ebooks, offer the additional benefit of reviews (though I am careful not to find spoilers) and speedy download. As a writer, I am very aware that I’m not the only entertainment venue.  I compete with movies, television, and in the case of my Teen/Tween and YA novels—video games,

I strive to forge an emotional connection between my readers and my characters.  I hope that my readers will remember my characters and think of them as friends. Friends that make an afternoon enjoyable, an evening filled with adventure, hope, love, or good old-fashioned or just plain sassy fun!

Looking for a hook?

Here are a few of mine:

  •  Charlene hadn’t told Rachel that she’d fixed her up with a cowboy, much less Lynx Maddox, the “Wild Cat” of the rodeo circuit.  Rachel signed. She should have known.  After all, Charlene only dated men who wore boots and Stetson.  “Lynx” Rodeo Romance, Book 1.  BWL release.

 ·         Audralynn Maddox heard her own soft cry, but the pain exploding inside her head made everything else surreal, distanced somehow by the realization that some had made a mistake. A terrible mistake.  “Brede” Rodeo Romance, Book 2. BWL release.

 ·         “You and Elvis have done a great job on this house,” Meredith said as her older sister led the way downstairs toward the kitchen here the tour began. “Sorry I couldn’t get over, until now, but I’ve been sort of. . .well, busy.” Slipping her Juicy Couture tortoise-shell framed sunglasses into a bright pink case, Meredith crammed them into her black Coach handbag. She hoped her sister didn’t ask her to define busy. Becoming a zombie, and dealing with the entire raised from the dead issue over the past six months, was not a topic easily plunked into casual conversation.  “Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow” BWL release.

 ·         1868  The Governor of New Mexico decreed that all Indian children over six be educated in the ways of the white man. Indian Commissioner: Thomas Morgan said:  It is cheaper to educate the Indians than to kill them.

1880, Apacheria, Season of Ripened Berries

Isolated bands of colored clay on white limestone remained where the sagebrush was stripped from Mother Earth by sudden storms and surface waters. Desolate. Bleak. A land made of barren rocks and twisted paths that reached out into the silence.  A world of hunger and hardship.  This is my world. I was born thirteen winters ago.  I am Tanayia. My people and I call ourselves “Nde” this means “The People”. The white men call us Apache.
Whisper upon the Water” Hard Shell Word Factory/Mundania Press imprint.

Please join in the Blog Hop to see what other writers have to say!


Marci Baun said...

And you must forge an emotional connection between your readers and characters or the readers will stop reading. It's something all writers, myself included, must strive to do.

I enjoyed all of your hooks. I particularly liked "Whisper on the Water."


Rhobin said...

I hadn't thought about how mood effects reading until you mentioned. Now I know that is true of my reading also. Interesting post, thanks.

Fiona McGier said...

Yes, there are a whole lot of other entertainments that books compete with these days. The high schoolers in the schools I sub in tell me they never read because "books are boring." I sigh, exaggeratedly, and try to be diplomatic about pointing out that they are passive consumers when watching a screen. Their brains are "asleep", since no thinking is needed. But with a book, you have to engage your mind and become part of the story. Anyone can imagine much better visuals than any video can produce. Books rule!

Connie Vines said...

Thank you for taking the time to visit andost comments to my blog :-).

Beverley Bateman said...

Yes, hooks are important. If they don't hook me in the first few pages I'm not going to buy the book.