Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Grab the reader by the throat

One of the best pieces of writing advice I ever received was to grab the reader by the throat at the beginning of a story and not let go until the end. Over the years I've found a few ways to accomplish this, but I never thought about how many different tricks and techniques writers have at their disposal for writing opening lines and opening scenes.

Les Edgerton has. In Hooked (Writer's Digest Books, 2007), Edgerton describes many different ways writers can effectively "hook" a reader with a strong opening line and/or opening scene. He provides examples of effective story hooks from a variety of genres, and explains why he believes they are effective.

While I don't agree with everything Edgerton says--for example, he doesn't think highly of stories that begin with dialog and I've sold a great many stories that begin with dialog--he did make me aware of a few techniques I haven't used.

I finished reading Hooked a few days ago and I've already written two opening scenes based on what I learned. If I finish and sell even one of the two stories, Hooked will pay for itself many times over.

1 comment:

Kevin R. Tipple said...

No luck here with this title as far as the library goes. Bummer as this sounds like a good one.