Tuesday, February 19, 2013

To Hook or to Dangle

As a writer, I have read so many books, blog posts and articles that all sprout the same advice "you need to hook the reader from the first page" or "you need to start with a bang", but I was just wondering whether a reader will read a slow chapter one if the characters are interesting, but also the opposite, what about if the story starts with a bang but there are lifeless or unbelievable characters?

I do like to try and give a story a go, if I see characters that I like or a story that I see going somewhere, but if there's still nothing happening by chapter five then I think nothing's going to happen in the whole story. I'm the same with a movie, and there have been several movies that I have not been able to sit through (unfortunately I've attended the cinema for several of them and ended up spending the majority of the movie writing... I did get a lot of work done though :P).

I am a writer who likes to start with an action scene, but in my latest WiP Shinigami Eyes, that was not possible because my character is stuck on the train and in my first draft the entire action wasn't even seen on the pages (seriously, I'd only mentioned the action). In my rewrite, I've changed it and have been told it is better with the action, but I still worry about the hook and whether it will keep the reader wanting more (but since I've got beta readers who are anxious for me to continue I'm gathering I'm heading in the right direction).

As a reader, do you like to be hooked right from the first page, or do you keep reading if there are interesting characters? What, if anything, makes you stop reading?


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