Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A page turner

It was his first ride on the board. It wasn't his last, I'm sure. Once he got that wind in his face and that thrill in his heart--he was hooked.

I had an hour to kill last Saturday as I waited for a friend. We agreed to meet in a local Barnes and Nobles. She got held up on I4 so I strolled the aisles checking out the new books. What better place to have to wait.

Finally, I decided to do an experiment. Quite a few titles graced the new release section. I proceeded to pick up every one and read the first few sentences of the first paragraph. I typically do that when I buy a book.

What did I find? Some books I immediately dropped back on the shelf. Others I found myself reading a little more. But one, I decided to buy. And that's unusual for me because I rarely buy books now--I borrow them from friends or the library.

But like my grandson above--the book hooked me. I experienced that thrill of wanting more.

Will your story hook your reader from word one? Will it make him want to turn the page for more?

I doubt I will ever join Gavyn on a long board--that's for his braver Dad. But I hope I'll kick up my next WIP a notch so it makes someone else climb aboard.

24 comments:

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oh, your grandson is SO cute!!!

Kristen Painter said...

One of my friends and I do this all the time with the multitude of free books we get at conferences. It's interesting how many of them we wouldn't buy!

Greg C said...

Great advice. I needed that for the two stories that I am writing. The hardest part for me is the introductiory paragrapy and the final one. Your grandson is very cute by the way. We use the library a lot up here. My son loves to go there.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

What a cutie!! He looks so happy rolling along there.

I'm with you on hoping that my books grab and hold the reader from page one. Time will tell, I guess.

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

I do the same thing!

Those first few lines are so important!

Blessings
Robin

and your grandson is a sweetie!!!!!
too cute!

Jody Hedlund said...

Adorable picture, Tiffany! And yes, hooks are so key. But sadly, I'm finding that the hook might be great, but the book doesn't keep me turning the pages until the end! So, I guess we need to keep hooking the reader with each chapter! That's the real challenge, right?

Lin said...

good tip, even the title is so important to hook the reader. cute kid.

Andrea said...

Awesome picture. I, too love book stores...in all shapes and sizes. Hopefully, my writing will grow and capture others in one word or at least a few..andrea

Jessica said...

I hope my story hooks the reader. I try to start at an emotionally pivotal point.
Your grandson is adorable!
And look how much you've written. Amazing!

Susan said...

Books need to grab the reader's attention from page one, I think. However, there were some cases where I didn't like a story at first but, as I continued to read, I discovered it was truly enchanting. It happened with some of my favourite books (Harry Potter comes to my mind).

Sometimes the day itself may not be the best to do some reading too.

skoots1mom said...

great pic...
and great analogy for getting us to write more and BETTER...to catch someone's attention

Melissa Marsh said...

It's amazing, isn't it, how different books affect us. Those first sentences you didn't like may have immediately grabbed an agent or editor. More and more, I'm realizing just how subjective this business is.

Carmen Gamble said...

Awww...look at that adorable little scrunched up nose! What a cutie!

Reading the first few sentences of a new book--that is a good idea. People are always recommending and loaning books to me, so I rarely think to do that. That's great advice. Thanks!

Cindy said...

Oh, what a cutie. I hope my books will make people want to continue. They all have such diverse beginnings. We'll see!

Chelle Sandell said...

We haven't had the extra money to buy books so when I have...it's auto-buys. Mostly my writer friends and authors I know that usually make it worth buying. Hooks and first chapters are so important...but they have to be able to keep it flowing for me to keep them as auto-buy.

Jill Kemerer said...

Awww...adorable! My fave authors don't have to hook me. They already got me! Everyone else? Yes, but I'll probably still read the book.

Valerie said...

I have nominated you for the Lovely Blog award on http://valswidiary.blogspot.com

I try very hard to get first lines that grab the reader, after all it's what I look for myself when choosing a book.

Janna Qualman said...

What I'm intriqued by, is the fact that someone must have been hooked by the starts of those books, right? How else would they have made it to publication? And that just makes our job so much harder, I think, because a lot of it comes down to the opinion of who we present our work to.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

I don't base my book choices on the first paragraph. The author is important to me. If I know their work, I'll buy their books.

However, if I have a bad experience with an untried author, it's unlikely I'll come back for more.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Angie Ledbetter said...

Hey, Terri, you could probably be a literary agent with those skills! :)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Hope so...

peace~elaine

Pat's Place said...

Wow! What a great exercise--yours, not your grandson's. The exercise of testing how a book hooks you into reading it. I recently checked out a book from the library that was highly recommended to me by several people and, first of all, it did not hook me at the beginning and I have struggled with it through almost half the book. Not sure I will ever finish it. Guess some people prefer a different style from the style that hooks me! This one book has NOT hooked me.

sherrinda said...

Awww, your grandson is adorable! My 2 boys/men love their longboards. Boys will be boys, I say!

Alleluiabelle said...

Hi Terri,

What a sweet and precious grandson!Absolutely adorable!

Whoo Hoo...You are in the final stretch. I'm happy for you.

All I can say is, I'm hooked on writing. I write about my personal experiences and thoughts. If it hooks someone, anyone in in any way, then I'm happy that I've touched them somewhere deep inside. That's my thrill.

Love you,
Alleluiabelle