Want to hook the reader into your story?

Don’t be too much.


AUG 10, 2023


In real life, I can kind of be a lot if you know me. I’m pretty enthusiastic and exuberant like a puppy and this? Well, this is not for everyone.

And just like real life, sometimes book beginnings can be a bit too much.

So, when we writers talk about hooking readers, we talk about how to draw them in to the beginning of the story. It’s usually a lot of do’s rather than don’t, which is lovely because it’s lovely to be positive.

But one of the big things about hooking your reader is that you don’t want to be too much. Yo

What’s that mean?

It means that you don’t want to

1.     Confuse them

2.     Overwhelm them

3.     Purple prose the heck out of them

4.     Not have context

So, what would an example of too much be?

It might be this:

Carrie’s an anchor. She’s something that pulls me down into the netherworld of an abyss and gets me set to implode and stuff. Get it? Netherworld. Ha! That’s a great thing about the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, right? How they have the netherworld, which is so Chabon of them. Did you know that once Carrie took photos for the Democrat party for a fundraiser for Obama  (Bethany asked her to or maybe it was Heather) who wasn’t president yet and she went to a rented out place in Blue Hill with all these linen shirts and Michael Chabon and Ayelet Wadman who had just been on Oprah and she walked through the house and all the wind slammed the doors behind her, one after one, after one, like some sort of poltergeist, unless she was the poltergeist or, you know, (Hahaha) channeling Carrie from the Stephen King novel that his wife threw out. Man, I love that this happened.

It’s just a lot, right? And Carrie isn’t even the narrator, someone nameless is. And there are asides and jokes and a backstory and random details and namedropping, and what is going on.

Don’t do that.


Judy Blume has a MasterClass on writing and in it she talks about how ideas area all around us. Her assignment for students is below.



According to Reedsy, “On the lookout for distinctive voices with fresh perspectives, AGNI magazine proudly showcases talented writers from all around the globe. Judging by its recent issues, this magazine focuses on stories from writers in the early stages of their careers 一 making it an invaluable platform for emerging literary talent.”

Submission window: September 1st – December 15th | February 15th – May 31st
Compensation: $20 per printed page
Word Count: No set word limit
Submission GuidelinesHere


I’m teaching a FREE workshop (live) at the Writing Barn. The link is in the bio. The photo is very very old.


Click here to learn more!

Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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