1. Brightsmiles
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    Brightsmiles Senior Member

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    hook, line and sinker...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Brightsmiles, Apr 15, 2009.

    for curiosities sake i'm wanting to know what you guys like to use as your opening 'hook' to peak your audiences curiosity and keep them reading?

    do you prefer conversations, distressing situations, inner dialouge, some form of disaster or personal revelation/secret etc?

    i find i can write the start of a story a good three or four different ways but never know which one to choose! anyone else have the same prob?
     
  2. Chaoslogic
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    Chaoslogic Member

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    I don't like dialogue as a hook. I like a line that creates tension: Joseph peered at his neighbor from her bedroom, minutes before he'd murder her with the kitchen knife he stole.
     
  3. Dalouise
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    Dalouise Contributing Member

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    It depends entirely on what I am writing, but as I don't follow any "taught" techniques of writing, it could be anything. One of my novels starts with a tense but short lived situation, the other is the tension of anticipation with a kick-in-the-ribs ending to the chapter.
     
  4. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    Different lines will hook me depending on what I'm reading...

    Sometimes a question is a good start for a book that's informational and tense situations work well for me in fiction. My novel right now starts with the line "I am surprised he chose me." I think that it works as a hook right now but I will probably end up making it much stronger whenever I get finished writing it.

    ~Lynn
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I like to start with a character facing a challenge. It helps you get to know the character in action, and usually makes questions sprout for the reader: Who is this person> How did she get into such a mess? Who let a chimpanzee loose in the store and why?
     
  6. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    I'm not a fan of action or "drama" sort of openings that all but scream, "Look at me! I'm a hook! Are you interested yet?"
    Not to mention, since I haven't gotten to know your character, I don't care that he's in danger/having a hard day/whatever. So you'll have to set up one hell of an intriguing plot really fast or focus less on the action and more on the character's unique view/way of dealing with it. "Look, stuff explodes!" doesn't have quite the same effect in writing as on screen, I watch movies/read comics for that stuff.

    But, if the selection at the local bookstore is any indicator, I'm in the minority here and most readers like to be played like a kazoo.
     
  7. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    For my own writing, I like to jump right into the mind of the character, get to know her, what her conflict is. There usually isn't a lot happening outside her mind, but (I hope) I'm giving you enough interesting character stuff to make you want to know more.

    When I'm reading, it depends on my mood. Anything is fine as long as something is happening and it's not pure exposition because good exposition usually isn't obvious, anyway. A screenwriter once said, "Give them two plus two. They'll come up with four on their own." Perfect example: "A compas that doesn't point North." You think the compas is broken and Norrington has every right to insult Jack, but then later you see him using the compas to find the island. Then we know that the compas points to the island without being directly told.
     
  8. OhCarl
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    OhCarl New Member

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    Slowly leading up to what could be a good story?

    Some people just read the start and think , "well that sucks"....
     
  9. x_raichelle_x
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    x_raichelle_x Contributing Member

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    I agree with Cogito, I think any kind of challenge is far more likely to keep me reading than somebodys thoughts, or anything where....tbh I can't think of another situation, my brains turned to mush today. But I do still agree with Cogito.

    xxx
     
  10. Brightsmiles
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    Brightsmiles Senior Member

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    thanks guys! its quite interesting to see what things people like use and read... my thinking cap is still on but you've helped me make some headway! cheers!
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    each piece of my work determines its own hook... i don't have any 'standard' method that i use for all, nor do most successful writers, as far as i can tell... and i don't think anyone should...

    sometimes setting the scene, or introducing a character will be the best hook and sometimes a bit of action, or even dialog will do the trick... it's a major mistake, imo, to lock yourself into any single method, as every story has its own character and its own needs...
     
  12. love2listen
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    I always start in the exact middle of a scene, preferably one with tension or emotion. Then I introduce the characters and their situation.
     
  13. DvnMrtn
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    DvnMrtn Contributing Member

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    I try to utilize the first sentence to hook the reader.
     
  14. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    I don't use hooks, per se, or put much thought in to what goes at the beginning... I just start at the start of the story, with whatever words I need to start telling it... (One word, a brief thought, a line of dialogue, a small description, whatever I see first).

    I don't intend for any of that to sound sarcastic, either. I really just don't set up the story with something to hook, at least not intentionally. I like to just step in at what I feel is the right moment and start telling the story from there.
     
  15. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like that idea.

    I stink at writing beginnings. And endings. Usually I just write out a short description of how I want the story to begin and then starting actually writing somewhere in the middle. So I'm still experimenting with what kind of beginning I would like to use.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As Maia pointed out, no technique should be used in all cases. I like to start by putting a problem before a major character, but I haven;t done that in every single story either. One of my favored stories begins with a main character looking out a viewport at the stars and thinking about the fact that nothing is truly eternal - not even him.

    And even when I do open with a character facing a challenge, it isn't usually involving explosiins or gunfire. Another story begins with an engineer frustrated because he can find nothing wrong with a communications receiver that doesn't seem to be working. Another has Death's greatest opening challenge as which (apparently identical) scythe to carry that day.
     
  17. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    But there is nothing wrong with hearing other people's ideas and methods. That's how some people learn.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    where did i say, or even imply that it would be wrong, rei?...
     
  19. Brightsmiles
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    Brightsmiles Senior Member

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    i'm totally with you on that one! that's why i wanted to know what other ppl thought, and their favourite examples for beginnings.

    btw, i don't believe in having 'locked in' methods on how to start... i was floundering and wanting inspiration from others... which has been graciously given and appreciatively recieved! thanks everyone!
     
  20. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    I think what I'll use to make my audience interested is a scene that demonstrates what the book is all about.
    Since my characters are with my audience throughout the entire book, I want to make them seem interesting or intriguing.
    Because my writing itself is with my audience the entire book, I want my writing style to seem even more interesting or intriguing.

    Most books I read I generally like based upon, foremost, the extent to which I like the writing style, and secondly, if I like where the story is going.

    So I suppose what I am saying is that my writing should speak for itself, because I just start the beginning. . . at the beginning.

    I like comedy a lot, though, and incorporate it into every scene that it works in. I can't imagine small hints of comedy ever getting tiring or uninteresting.
     
  21. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I prefer action. I also like there to be a sense of wonder.

    Zoey Bella awoke under the bridge, and she was late.

    Dialog can be used well.
     

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