“You are going to hate me for this,” Robin said as she looked at me with sadness. I had just read the first chapter to a book that had been completed a week before. Sitting in the library room with one of my writer’s group I tensed on the inside. Okay be calm, breath how back can this be?
Robin said the first two paragraphs of my first page needed to go somewhere, anywhere but where it had been placed. My hook she continued really started on paragraph three. Looking where she pointed I knew she was right, 100 percent correct. Thanking her I made the notes on the sheet.
The back story would just be moved elsewhere in the book. It is rare I delete that much words unless they don’t work anywhere else. The hook, the most important part of any story regardless of length has to be mastered. There are many books on this topic though the one I refer to most often is “Hooked” by Les Edgerton. This determines if a reader will continue with your novel or just place it down never to be picked up again. Some example of hooks:
-”The creatures came again last night.” – Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge
-”I lost all interest in sex after I died.”- Water-Skiing Down the Styx
-”When John Rochon was found dead Sunday morning on his front lawn, his neighbors were not surprised- only they had always somehow suspected his timid wife Beth would die first.”-He Had It Coming
One of my writing teachers once said if you are missing a hook at the beginning, then go through your story and find it. There is a chance you have written the hook but have placed it further into the story line. This is something we as writers can not ignore and hope it will just happen.
One of the many reasons we write is to have people read our stories and get enjoyment from them. To do that we have to make sure they get pass page one, then page two and so on until the last page has been read. As much time and effort we put into writing it does no one any good if the book remains on the shelf or worse the trash can.