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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Writing Wednesday


We need to have good openings to get the publisher's attention.
We call them hooks.
With the first line, the first paragraph and the first page of our manuscript we need to hook the reader (and publisher) so he wants to turn the page and continue reading.

There are many ways to do this.
We can hook the reader by using action verbs and creating an immediate conflict.
We can open our story with an intriguing setting.
We can open with violence or danger.
We can open with mystery.

What do you like to open with?

Our readers want to be entertained. If we do not grab their attention early on in the story, they will put our book down. We don't want to gradually sneak up on the story. We need to start with action.

In my first draft of my MG manuscript, with the suggestion of my critique group, I skipped past the first chapters and started my story at chapter three. I later worked in information from those first chapters. It made for a much better story. I did not lead up to the action, my story now started with action and a little mystery!

I did not know this when I first started writing, but my experienced critique partners noticed it immediately.

In fact, I admit that I did not know much of anything about writing when I first started. But, with perseverance, practice and a very helpful writing group I have grown as a writer.

If I keep it up, maybe some day I will have one of my stories published.

What or who has helped you grow as a writer?


  1. Openings are a pox with me. After a piece is done, I often find it is improved by lopping of the whole first paragraph. I seem to have a way of coming into a story sideways!

  2. I like to start my stories in an unexpected situation that challenges the characters right away. It has a way of bringing the reader right into the story. And I've found that what has helped me grow as a writer is to read, read, read and see the so many different ways and styles that work for me as the reader.

  3. Good job! Start in the middle of the action, the middle of what changes the character, no matter what it is.

  4. Reading has helped my writing more than just about anything. Also being able to talk and share with other writers. There is a special kind of encouragement to be found among other writers, who understand the unique problems we encounter. I have struggled with openings all my life. Eventually I found the best thing for me is to just jump right in and start writing. Often I go back after I have a few pages or chapters with an all new, fresh perspective. The right opening then suddenly seems clear. I hope you have a lovely day ahead Janet! Delisa :)

  5. I write for myself. I have been published over the years when I was younger. Now I only write for personal satisfaction that serves to broaden my horizons. -- barbara

  6. Good advice, Janet! Everything you said sounds like my writing life. When I first started, I knew next to nothing. Read a lot, write a lot, don't give up, is still my mantra after twenty years of being published.

  7. Janet,
    This is great advise. I'm glad you have posted these ideas to hook the reader. I will try some of these ideas the next time I write a story. You always come up with great ideas.

  8. Great post-I'm good with the openings-it's the next part and the ending that I have trouble with : )


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