Hook Your Reader Right Away

Too often authors lose readers in the first paragraph or two. Why? The author ignores the rule that your first few words are the most important words you write in any given piece.

Just as you have 20 to 30 seconds to make a good first impression when you meet someone, you have about that much time to impress (or hook) your reader. If you fail to hook your reader right away, you risk your beautiful writing, creative descriptions, moving plots, and thought-provoking ideas never getting read, let alone recommended to others.

Review your writing and get rid of trite openings. Here are some examples to delete immediately from your writing toolbox.

  • My purpose in writing…
  • At this point in time…
  • The subject of my article/paper/report…
  • Needless to say…
  • After giving much thought to…
  • Eventually we must all…
  • I confess…

Now that you’ve purged the trite and boring openers from your writing, what tools should you use to hook your reader?

  • Create a short summary of what you’re writing about, why you find the topic important, and how you intend to accomplish your purpose in writing the piece. Think of the summary as a sample tasting of the bigger dish. Don’t give away too much, just whet the reader’s appetite.
  • Begin with a story. People love to be entertained and stories do that. Just make sure you keep the story relevant to the subject matter–no gratuitous stories that don’t apply.
  • Use description to show (rather than tell) your reader about your topic. You can describe a character or real person, a setting or scene, a feeling or intuition, etc. The more you intrigue the reader, the better the chance the reader will continue reading.

Review books and periodicals to see how effectively (or not) the authors/writers hook  their readers. Figure out what works for your writing style and project. More people than ever are writing. You’ll want to rise above the crowd by hooking your reader right away, delivering engaging writing, and creating a buzz about you and your work.

And it all  starts with the first few words your reader reads.

Happy writing!


5 Responses to “Hook Your Reader Right Away”

  1. 1 Fay August 5, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Very timely and helpful advice. I am working on a new little book with my mother in law and have just been thinking about how to start it out.

  2. 3 Carol Ann Hoel August 15, 2010 at 9:36 am

    One of my last small by not insignificant revisions to my novel came by way of a wish. I wished my third paragraph were my first because the opening sentence engaged the reader (me). Just for the sake of curiosity I moved this paragraph to the front, made a few minor adjustments, and found that it fit there perfectly! Who would have guessed? Sometimes it pays off to try something that seems impossible if accomplishment of such would be beneficial. I am going to read all your posts one by one. I cannot do it now, but I will. Thank you for sharing!

  3. 5 Twitter Software December 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Hello, just wanted to tell you, I liked this article. It was helpful.
    Keep on posting!

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