Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hook 'Em!

Some first lines are so enthralling that you must keep reading. I've read many books on how to write strong opening stories. In Noah Lukeman's "The First Five Pages," he teaches that these hooks start out as an opening line, then paragraph, page, and opening chapter. The intensity of the first line that draws the reader in should apply to the book as a whole. This takes a great deal of focus and endurance for me. But it doesn't mean the story doesn't need to slow down and let the reader digest what they have read so far.

Often when the protagonist's life is stable or improving from a recent problem, it's the break before a worse problem begins. I lost count of how many times my manuscript has changed as I attempt to make it flow better. Lukeman also warns us about creating such a hook that caused the story to flop from the inability to maintain the pace.

How do you handle the pace throughout your story?


  1. Those first lines are so important and so hard! I think the key to pacing is to make sure every scene contributes to the theme or the concept. If it doesn't, it's a side-trip, which isn't moving things forward, and that means the pacing has STOPPED.

    Great blog!

  2. Hi Peggy - my ghost story has taken many side-trips in the last year and a half, lol. Thanks for stopping by!