How to Hook Readers: 3 Essential Tips for Openings
May 16, 2015
The rise of online submissions systems means it’s likely your manuscript will first be encountered by editors in digital format. Form affects experience – people’s attention spans are shorter online. Add to this the fact that many publications and agencies lack the staff to read thousands of unsolicited submissions to completion, and it becomes clear just how essential it is to hook readers on page one. But what’s needed to hook a reader? Some writers mistakenly believe their opening must contain a gimmick or scene of high drama, when what readers really crave is focus.
Readers enter the world of a short story blind, without the benefit of jacket copy or a synopsis to guide them. A smart author provides readers a toehold in this fictional world by zeroing in on questions readers yearn to answer.
Does your opening hook readers with key questions?
Print out the first three pages of your current work-in-progress. Read through these to see if you can clearly identify and articulate: