If you didn’t get the Writer’s Digest for February, go buy one. A TON of great information in this issue!
Here I’m going to summarize and paraphrase the article written by Jacob M. Appel, pages 32-35, entitled “Better Starts for Better Stories.”
1. Build Momentum – a distinctive voice, point of view, plot and some characterization.
2. Dont’ start too early – like before the action begins!Begin at the first moment of MAJOR conflict. (Inciting incident.)
3. Small hooks catch bigger fish – If your hook is so big it can’t be topped, you’ve just killed your story/article!
4. Don’t confuse your reader – if reader needs additional information to decipher the hook, write another hook. Frustrated readers don’t finish reading or come back again.
5. Hint of mystery – an unanswered question works well sometimes. However, it must make sense with or without additional info.
6. Limit the chat – don’t dump reader into a barrage of dialog that’s impossible for them to follow. A sentence or two – great. More than that, probably not.
7. Be willing to test – try out titles and hooks with friends, family, and maybe some non-partial readers. Provide several of each and ask which they prefer and why!
8. Double set that hook – when the book is done, read the opening again. Does the hook still work? Is it the best hook for your needs?
The article goes into some wonderful examples and suggestions for starting off strong. Like I said, every writer should own this issue! (or a subscription!)
Have fun with your writing and let me know what questions you might like answered! Comments always welcome.
Until Thursday, happy writing!!