We all know that the first line in a book is the most important. It isn’t called a hook for nothing!
The hook should consist of two things: the obvious is the bait (to keep the reader wanting more) and the second is a short summary of what the book is going to be about.
I’ve plucked Dean Koontz’s The Good Guy off my shelf and here we have: Sometimes a mayfly skates across a pond, leaving a brief wake as thin as spider silk, and by staying low avoids those birds and bats that feed in flight.
So what does that tell you? It tells me that someone is trying to stay unobserved, maybe they are in hiding?
I wouldn’t be sure until I read on, and I wanted to know – I was hooked! I read the second paragraph: At six feet three, weighing two hundred tend pounds, with big hands and bigger feet, Timothy Carrier could not maintain a profile as low as that of a skating mayfly, but he tried.
I was intrigued, and thus bought the book. And what a brilliant book it was too!
Perhaps the most famous opening lines are to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
What does that conjure up? To me it’s arrogance of the autocracy, and it wasn’t until the drama series with Colin Firth (yum!) that I thought I’d better read the book. As a historal novel, it gave me much insight to the the era it was written in.
So, what are your thoughts on this? Is the opening the hardest part to write, or does it come easy to you?