The main element when we write a book is that we want our readers to keep reading. So, I think I’m going to start what I like to call (Drumroll please) the Wednesday Writing Series About Hooking Your Reader.
I’ll be giving two hints a blog post. Let’s keep going!
TWO QUICK HINTS TO KEEP YOUR READER HOOKED ON YOUR BOOK
Let the reader identify with someone.
We like stories where we can quickly identify with the main character, or at least a character, pretty early on.
Think about all the BuzzFeed quizzes that ask, “Which Harry Potter Character Are You?” “Which Buffy Character Are You?” “Who Are You In The Wire?” “What Disney Princess Are You?”
It goes on and on.
We humans like to identify with characters who are in the stories we read or the video we watch. It’s like a nice pat on the back that says we aren’t alone, and it creates community.
Don’t Do This:
- Start with dialogue on the first line. It’s hard to care about the person speaking if you haven’t met them yet.
“Wow,” he said. “That is really it.”
Huh, the reader said.
2. Tell us stuff we don’t need to know.
So, in 1870 or something like that I had this great great aunt who allegedly stepped on a nail or something, not that it matters. Although, maybe it mattered to her, but yeah. I don’t know why I’m telling you this.
Neither does the reader.
3. Introduce 18 characters in the first paragraphs. It’s hard to remember who is who and who is important.
As Belinda walked inside the Timberland RV Campground in Trenton, Maine she waved hello to Lincoln, son-in-law of the owner, a retired man with a name like Jack or something, and then she waved to Debbie, Lincoln’s wife, who was riding on a golf cart with Charlene. Peggy was perched on the back with a blonde child whose name I think is Jackie…
Enough said, right?
4. And finally describe things just for the sake of describing them.
Timberland RV Campground descended into a slight hill, managing to split itself across two town lines. It was Trenton in the front and Ellsworth in the back and the back was where there were no trees surrounding the sites, just pull-in places for the giant RVs and motorhomes and campers and busses. I have no idea which is which. I’d never been in a campground before, but they had hook-ups at some of the sites for water and sewer, or just one, and electricity. There were metal fire rings and some people had fancied up their sites with flowers and decks and lobster buoys because… Maine.
You can find the other posts in this series by searching the hookingreaderstag.
Next and Last Time Stoppers Book
Please buy it so I can keep buying food for the dogs… and stuff…
People call it a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson but it’s set in Maine. It’s full of adventure, quirkiness and heart.
The Spy Who Played Baseball is a picture book biography about Moe Berg. And… there’s a movie out now about Moe Berg, a major league baseball player who became a spy. How cool is that?
You should totally buy Carrie’s book about Moe. It’s awesome and quirky and fun.
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Carrie will be at The Books-A-Million in South Portland, Maine on August 8. That’s tonight!
She’ll be at the Maine Literacy Volunteers Festival on September 8.