We’re always being told to “hook” our reader at the beginning of the story. We’re constantly reminded at workshops to visualize a reading patron at a bookstore, browsing through books, reading the first page, and quickly deciding whether to buy your book OR NOT. That is absolutely true, for me, anyway. When I pick up a book, I read the first couple of paragraphs, and if they grab me, I buy the book.
Three MG and YA examples of some of my favorites: Trino’s Choice by Diane Gonzales Bertrand, fellow writer and critique partner. “Trino had to run or die. Hands clenched into fists, he ran through the hot dust that stuck to his tongue and made his eyes burn.” Becoming Naomi León by Pam Muñoz Ryan. “I always thought the biggest problem in my life was my name, Naomi Soledad León Outlaw, but little did I know that it was the least of my troubles, or that someday I would live up to it.” When Zachary Beaver Came to Town by Kimberly Willis Holt. “Nothing ever happens in Antler, Texas. Nothing much at all. Until this afternoon, when an old blue Thunderbird pulls a trailer decorated with Christmas lights into the Dairy maid parking lot.”
I found a really good blog, The Writer Today, by writer/blogger Ana Martin that addresses ten ways you can begin your story with a great hook. The title of her article is “Beginning Hooks - Strategies to use to catch your reader's attention.” I found it truly helpful. So let's all find and work on those hooks and get started on our stories. Good luck!
“No matter how much education you’ve had, it’s best to read as many classics as possible and keep abreast of today’s popular reading, especially in the area to which you hope to contribute.”—Writing Tip: Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner
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