Wednesday, July 6

Setting Your Hook

They - whoever 'they' are...I'm never really sure - say that the first line is what hooks a reader to read the first paragraph...and that first paragraph is what keeps the reader going through the first page...and then the first chapter...and then to keep on reading to the very last sentence on the very last page. But it all hinges on a first line, a first hook, a first 5 to 20 words. That is a lot of pressure to put on just a handful of words!

A first line should set the tone of the book, and maybe hint at some kind of conflict, and - of course! - make us keep reading.

We haven't done a share-your-first-line in a while, but what better way to spend a holiday week than with reading...even if it's just a first line.

I'll go first - this is the first line from a super-secret-project that I'm working on:

God, the last thing she wanted to do tonight was head back across the river to Manhattan.

Okay, writers, share the first line from your WIP in the comments! Oh, and while you're sharing - tell me, what is it about a first line (or maybe paragraph) that hooks you as a reader?


  1. Cheating, since my first line is only one word. Here's my first paragraph:
    Ellie thought if her mother’s delicate winged brows rose any higher, they would disappear entirely, becoming forever lost in Corinne’s signature mahogany hair. Of course, the expression made her eyes even wider and more striking.

    Although I like first lines and think they're fun to read, I don't usually remember them. I do admit to being a bit of a first chapter slut--if that doesn't grab, I'm pretty much done.

    1. I've read a few first lines that stayed with me...but like you, it's usually the entirety of the first chapter. Great line (paragraph), Liz! I'd keep reading!

  2. Actually, I'm a label kind of gal. If the cover and the blurb are interesting enough for my to pick up the book, I'm in it for at least a couple chapters. Here's my first line (or is this two?):

    “Got ’er put back together for now.” Staff Sergeant Stevens straightened from where he bent over a rusty terrasweeper engine and wiped a sleeve across his sweaty forehead.

    1. ooh, interesting! I'm envisioning a war book, maybe futuristic? :D

      Oh, and covers are the very *first* thing to draw me into a book...the words keep me there, but the cover is what draws my immediate attention.