Monday, 9 November 2015

NaNoWriMo: H is for Hooking the Reader

Hey! Are you doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? Follow me this month as I work through the alphabet of great writing tips, from creating ACTION to getting into the ZONE. 

Need a writing buddy? Email me at or comment in my daily posts. We can inspire each other to put down those daily word counts. My goal this year: 5,000 words.

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Every time I go into a bookstore, I’m in awe of how many books are on the shelves—hundreds of thousands of them. And that’s not even a fraction of the number of books published every year.

So, how do you choose which book to read?

My tactic is always to read the first page. If the author makes me want keep going, there’s a good chance I’ll buy the book.

I know what I don’t like in the first few paragraphs—too much dialogue, too many characters, too much description and too much information. So what does make me turn the page?

Here are three writing tips for HOOKING THE READER from the very first page:

Introduce with an intriguing character.
No matter what genre you’re writing—fantasy, science fiction, mystery, etc.—your story should begin with the character. Tell who he/she is in the first line, if you can, but for sure, by the end of the first page. Readers want to know whom they are investing time in.

Begin at a pivotal moment.
Start your story with something your character wants, whether it’s a glass of water or to cross a crumbling bridge. The situation should be unusual. After finishing the first page, your reader should wonder what happens next.

Create an interesting picture.
Describe the setting—but not too much. Your reader should get a sense of place, even by the end of the first page. Don’t just say the character is in “Alberta” — give one or two sentences that show where in Alberta.

Think about some of your favourite books. What is the first line? What was the last line of the first page? Why did you keep reading?

Gotta jet!

— Chase Superman Duffy 

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