Starting a novel is, for many, the hardest part. The first page, the very first sentence, has to grab the reader and strangle their heart and never let go.
Or so conventional wisdom says.
The first sentence of a novel – the “hook” – gets a lot of attention, but it’s created an odd sort disconnect in openers. Oftentimes I’ll pick up a book, get hooked on the first sentence or first paragraph, and then be utterly let down by everything that follows. The problem is I’m still standing in the aisle at the bookstore. I’m not often on a time limit when shopping for books. I’m not on a game show. I don’t need to limit myself to skimming on line before I need to make a selection and rush out the door. And if I’m reading a sample on Amazon or another site, I’m in even less of a hurry.
A good hook needs to lead into a good story. A sensational opening that awkwardly segues into a normal day at high school can lead to the reader feeling cheated or mislead. Try these suggestions to make your hook last the whole book: