H is for Hook, Line and Sinker! #AtoZChallenge

A guest post by Stacey James

Obviously this is not a blog about fishing. But you are, in essence, “fishing” for readers. That is, you will want to use the correct kind of “bait” to “lure” your readers into reading the rest of your “tale”.

Okay, sorry, that may be a little too much pun. But the first line of your novel (or other fictional work) should grab your reader’s attention and keep it for the duration of your novel. Your first line should leave your readers asking a question. This will want to make them read more to find out the answer. Below are some examples of good first line:
  • I didn’t mean to kill my husband.
  • I almost married Ebenezer Pocket.
  • Clarissa hadn’t slept in five days.
Here are some examples of not so good first lines:
  • It was a warm sunny day.
  • The snowstorm made them cancel school.
  • Once upon a time.
Do you see, or feel the difference? The first set of examples force you to ask a question in your head. How did she kill her husband? Why didn’t she marry Ebenezer Pocket? Why hadn’t Clarissa slept in five days?

First lines tend to be short and snappy. The first line sets the tone for your entire novel. And first lines can be prime real estate for introducing your main characters. But hooking readers takes a little more than just a good first line. The second line can be just as important. There you may start painting some scenery if you wish.

I almost married Ebenezer Pocket. In fact, I was within view of the quaint church on Dragonfly Lane one Saturday last December when the limo slid off the snow covered road and into a ravine where we waited for three days to be rescued.

Your entire first chapter is vital into hooking your reader, so do be cautious about adding too much back information. You should keep any action moving along. Paint a vivid picture. Remember, if your reader becomes bored they will likely stop reading. If that should happen it doesn’t really matter how your book ends, does it? So use these tips to keep your reader “hooked” from the very beginning.

About Stacey James

Stacey James lives in Maine with her children, Emily and Jack, along with their spirited cat, Ebenezer. After nearly twenty years in the telecommunications business, Stacey snagged an early retirement in order to write full time. Everyday heroes inspire her writing and she especially enjoys creating stories where there is a "rags to riches" or an "underdog" theme. She particularly enjoys genre mixing; both reading and writing. Currently she is working on a YA novel called "The Watchers", expected late 2012.

Blurb About Recent Novella Release Molly’s Soap Parlor

Steam and soap powder rule in 1895 Whiskey Falls! Twenty one year old tinkerer Molly Watkins can clean more than just sap and coal stains out of day-old overalls; she can clean house with anything or anyone that sets an unwelcomed foot on her new establishment- Molly’s Soap Parlor. That would include scoundrels, thugs, and pirates out to steal her granny's famous soap powder recipe. She's got no time for twittering, even if it involves a handsome wilderness scout named Arrow.

Gadgets and a modified Henry rifle are a feisty laundress' best friend in Whiskey Falls in the winter of 1895. Having narrowly escaped the foothills of North Dakota without her dog sled team, Molly made her way east to Whiskey Falls in order to enter her new contraption, a cycle fly rod, in an annual ice fishing derby. The rod is only one of Molly's latest inventions. But there’s more than soap brewing in Molly’s peculiar steam-powered laundry contraption.

Link to Molly’s Soap Parlor on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007J6SMT4

Link to Stacey James blog: http://booksbystaceyjames.wordpress.com/

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