By Erik, the Great- Did my title get you to click and open this article? Did it hook you? I hope it did. ; ) To me the most important part of the story is the HOOK. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hook, in writing, as “a device that catches the attention; a selling point or marketing scheme” I know that when I am interested in a book from the back cover description, I’ll flip it open and read the first page. Many times, that’s when I decide to get the book or not. I want something there that makes me want to read more. Without a good hook, you may lose the reader within the first page (or even the first paragraph).
Great opening lines can be a hook. For example;
- Good opening line: “I didn’t expect it to blow up.” (aren’t you curious as to what blew up?)
- Not so good opening line: “Bob lived in a red house next door to Susan who lived in a green house with her mom and dad.” (Boring! Too many details and who really cares who Bob lives near – unless Susan actually lives in a greenhouse not a green house – but that’s not the point…)
Think about books you have read with great opening lines. Ones that made you want to read more.
- “Marley was dead, to begin with. “ A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
- “If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.” A Series of Unfortunate Events Book 1 by Lemony Snicket
What are your favorite opening lines?
Good hooks can be a title too. Titles catch can catch a reader’s eye and can get a reader to pick it up. For example;
- Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman
- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
- Ungifted by Gordon Korman
What are titles that made you pick a book up?
I know you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, or in this case hook, and if I did this with every book, I’d be missing out on a lot. There have been some books that I’ve read that started out very slow and then turned out to be some of my all-time favorites (the Beyonder’s series by Brandon Mull). But, when I have a lot of books to choose from, a good hook will get me interested enough to ask my parents to get it for me. Now it’s your turn – write an opening line that makes me want to read your book! 😀 Share your favorite opening lines or book titles in the comment section OR you can make up your own!
Erik, the Great is a twelve-year-old sixth grader who loves to read. He started his blog, This Kid Reviews Books when he was nine. Erik writes a monthly book review column for the Upper Bucks Free Press. He recently self-published his first book titled “The Adventures of Tomato and Pea: A Bad Idea.” Learn more about Erik HERE.