The First Five Pages

I have been reading and editing the first chapter of my novel, The Enchanted Locket, and have gone back to reading my how-to books. I learned some great tips about hooks from Noah Lukeman’s book: The First Five Pages, A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile.

The concept known as a hook is an interesting and powerful first sentence or paragraph that you feel you must keep reading. The hook can establish a setting, character, narrator, or convey a shocking piece of information. The first line is not much space to work with, so you must be very creative. The hook’s purpose is to set the tone for the story. If the hook is intense, then it will be difficult to maintain that intensity throughout the entire book.

The beginning of the novel isn’t the only good place for a hook. Ending your chapter with such robust writing that the reader is eager to find out what happens next. The hook propelled them to read the following chapter.

Lukeman advises us to “think of hooks in a completely new way: not just to be used as openings and closings of chapters but also as openings and closings of line breaks, of paragraphs and ultimately even of sentences.” In other words, pretending that the paragraph that we are working on at any given moment, no matter where it occurs in the book, is the opening of your novel, and the end of each paragraph is your book’s finale.

This was a huge eye opener for me, to realize how working on hooks will influence the entire book. I certainly have my work cut out for me with all of these hooks!


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