Anyone who’s taken my creative
writing class knows what I think of opening lines; they are
imperative and must hook the reader.
When I was asked to review
this book I was thrilled; the subject matter is right up my
alley. And I wasn’t disappointed.
Sharon Rendell-Smock has
compiled way more than 100 opening lines, along with comments
from their writers on why they chose those particular words.
The insights given by each
writer is gold.
Dana Stabenow (www.stabenow.com),
author of the Kate Shugak series of books, explains why she used
‘The bad news was the blood in her hair’ as the opening
line of her novel Blood Will Tell. "I was hoping the
reader would think, ‘So, what’s the good news?’" she says.
Insights into information such
as this is imperative for beginning to intermediate writers to
understand the importance of hooks (opening lines) in
The title implies – and at
first glance it appears – that this is a book totally full of
opening sentences and nothing more. This assumption is far from
Other gems found in this
insightful book include setting the mood, grabbing the reader
with the first chapter, prologues and epilogues, and interacting
with the reader. And this list is by no means complete.
Rendell-Smock also has
smatterings of what she calls ‘Off the Shelf’ throughout the
book. These are opening lines used by authors such as Stephen
King, Sue Grafton, Vladimir Asminov, and Ed McBain.
Hooking the Reader
is not your usual non-fiction book, but it is a book you’ll
refer to time and time again throughout your writing career.
I strongly believe this book
should be part of every writer’s personal library, and highly