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Hooking the Reader:

Opening Lines that SELL

Sharon Rendell-Smock - 215 Pages

Published by Morris Publishing

Reviewed by Cheryl Wright 2007– All rights reserved


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 their writing.

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 the truth.

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 recommend it.



About the author: Cheryl Wright is an award-winning Australian author and freelance journalist. In addition to an array of other projects, she is the owner of the Writer2Writer.com website and the Writer to Writer monthly ezine for writers.  Her publications include novels, non-fiction books, short stories, and articles. To keep up to date with her publications and new releases, visit Cheryl’s website www.cheryl-wright.com





         Last updated: August 04, 2008