orangedale (orangedale) wrote,

Well and Truly Hooked

Yesterday started badly. On our usual walk along the beach, my husband and I saw our dog running towards us with a fishing line trailing from her. She had a necklace of two tangled lines sporting two fishing hooks, one of which was firmly embedded in her mouth. It appears someone had discarded the tangled line and hooks either on the beach or over the side of a boat and it had washed in with the tide. Being a dog that cannot help but stick her nose into every sandcastle, pile of seaweed or sand she sees, it wasn’t hard to understand how she became ensnared.

Though we tried we could not get the hook out. It was firmly embedded. What resulted was a hasty and unscheduled trip to the vet who thankfully took care of the situation. A wad of money and a day later it is like nothing ever happened. She is now sprawled out happily at my feet as I type with it appears no lasting effect. It made me think about bad hooks and good hooks.

As writers all of us love to hook readers. The trick is to hook the reader and not let them go. Sometimes it can be an opening line that immediately hooks you like this one. ’The day Billie’s life changed, she was already knee deep in trouble.’ Don’t you want to know why it changed and what trouble she was in? I did. That’s why I’m reading the book, The Sweetest Hallelujah by Elaine Hussey.

Of course it’s not enough to hook the reader with the first sentence or even paragraph. The hook needs to stay firmly implanted, to make the reader keep turning the pages. Another book that hooked me recently was Unforgivable by Aussie author Sharon Robards. Why? Because from the start I was emotionally involved with the characters and their situation. Hook into people’s emotions and it is easier to keep them reading. Would you agree?

Recently a couple of beta readers read Sandstone Madonna my manuscript in progress. One of the comments that pleased me was, ‘it was an easy book to keep reading fast, because of the good way you planned your chapters. So many of them had a hint at their end that something even more surprising, interesting or exciting was about to happen and that hook worked well for me. ‘Another beta reader made similar comments which is encouraging and just what I was aiming for. Comments like that spur me on to hope a publisher will react similarly

I’d love you to share an opening from one of your books or someone else’s that hooks the reader particularly well. Or tell us the name of a book that had you hooked from start to finish.
Tags: beta readers, emotions, hooking the reader, hooks, sandstone madonna
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