Welcome. This blog was started three years ago by four aspiring writers who are now three published authors of novels and short stories (Barbara Elsborg, Dawn Jackson, Arlene Webb) and one multiple award-winning writer (Laurie Green). We blog to keep readers updated on our new releases or other random topics. We hope you enjoy your stay. :] Coffee?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Q & A #5 The Hook

Let's talk about hook.

What do you think makes a great hook? What books have you read with a fantastic opening paragraph? Or even sentence? Can you list any examples?

What method do you use to come up with the perfect hook? Do you think most books do or do not have a great hook?


Arlene said...

I am terrible at remembering more than, It was a dark and stormy night.
I purchase without opening the book if I know the author, so that would be blind trust. Otherwise I tend to check out the blurb bit. And I dont feel like I have come up with even a reasonable hook, let alone a perfect one. It would be cool if someone got together pages, bound them of course, and gave credit after each one of opening paragraphs to anything that made the best seller list the past decade.

Dawn said...

Jim Butcher's "Dead Beat"
I love the opener of that book.

Flick said...

I start my story anywhere and then go back and think of a hook! That doesn't mean to say that any of them have worked. I try to go for the unusual and short sentences. So the heroine in trouble features largely.
I love the hooks of Susan Elizabeth Philips. The latest - Natural Born Charmer - is hilarious.
I don't read the first lines of any book before I buy it, though I would read the blurb.

Flick said...

I just picked up the book I'm reading at the moment and looked at the first line - it's a prologue -

"I resigned." John "Mac" MacCoy picked up his drink, sipped, and let the calming heat of the whiskey seep into his system.

The start of Chapter 1

-"Mac, did you see my comb?" Keiley called from the bathroom, her voice a little sharp with irritation and simmering with impatience.

Now - neither of those would have pulled me in to reading the story. I resigned - isn't bad as a short short opening but unless we know the character - do we care? I don't.

I bought the book because it's by Lora Leigh and not one of the Breed stories - I DO like her writing but I'm not so fond of the Breed ones. This book that I've taken the lines from is called 'Forbidden Pleasure' and deals with a guy who likes threesomes - is now married and wants one with his best friend and his wife - a threesome he wants to last forever. I think the author does a very good job of getting in the head of the woman particularly and the book was hot!!!

The blurb on the back didn't pull me in as I hadn't read it before I bought the book - an online purchase. So would I have bought it if I'd stood in a shop and read the back and read the hook at the start? Maybe not.

Are hooks more important for new authors than well established ones? Probably yes.

Laurie said...

I think you hit the nail on the head, Flick. In fact, I've added an article idea to my queue for looking at hooks, and the difference in expectations between unpublished (or not yet published) writers, established authors, and vets with a readership. Should be an interesting topic to examine.