When I was in my teens, I used to go fishing with my grandparents. I learned how to bait hook, catch the fish and cleaned it. Yuck, but I got used to it. My grandmother and I would go down to the dock in the evening with a lantern and can of corn. We baited our hooks, waited and more often than not we caught a couple good size rainbow trout. The key to catching them was the the right kind of bait and it worked every time. Why they loved corn. The kind of bait you use depends on what your fishing for
Writing a story is a lot like fishing, you need to bait the hook with something they can't resist and slowly reel them in until their caught in the net of your story. Granted it takes a lot practice to fine tune that skill but it's worth the effort especially if you want to get published.
I've been hooked
If you've ever read a novel you couldn't put down, then you too been hooked. We want to be hooked and reeled into a world of fantasy, mystery, suspense and drama, that's what makes reading novels so enticing. If you've been hooked, you can learn how to hook your reader. Ask yourself the following questions. What grabbed your attention enough to want to read the book? Did you relate to one or more of the character's and their situation? Did you want to read more and why did you like the book? I'm an avid reader of mystery and suspense novels and ask myself these questions on a regular
basis, because as a writer I want to know how to do the same thing and do it well.
Hook your reader with a great beginning. Les Edgerton wrote a book titled Hooked, how to write fiction that grabs your reader and never lets go. His book offers an clear and easy to understand approach on how to write great fiction. He covers story structure, scenes, the inciting incident characters and much more. I have several reference books on writing, but this is the one I use the most and recommend. If you want to hook your reader and potential editor or publishers then its essential to learn and master the skill of baiting the hook and how to keep your readers attention.
One way to learn how to write great beginnings is to connect with fellow writers. There's a lot of online writing groups to choose from depending on what you need. I prefer Wattpad, it protects my content, helps me connect me with other writers and more. I was reading a story on Wattpad and three lines grabbed my attention. I wasn't scared or sad. . . I was empty. I read that and had to find out why the character felt that way and that's what it means to be hooked, which is what readers are looking for.
The five senses
One of the things I love about a good novel is the feeling of being a part of the story. One of the ways you can help your reader experience the story is by incorporating sights, sounds, smells and touch into your story The five senses. For example; your character is in a dark alley, behind a garbage bin hiding from someone who wants to kill her. What does she feel, smell, hear, touch, or even taste while she's hiding there. Does a rat brush her leg, does she hear footsteps? does she smell the stench of the garbage bin and does it make her gag? All of these can be blended into the scene, make it come alive for the reader and keep them turning the pages.
Practice and more practice
It takes a lot of practice to write a great story or novel, some writers make it and some don't. But if you're willing to invest, time, effort and some of your hard earned money, I highly recommend taking a writing course. Start with something easy like writing short stories and then practice writing what you learned. I've spent years practicing, writing newsletters, articles, teaching material, short stories and a few novels. I still have the first short story I wrote in high school so I can remember where I started and how far I've come. It also gives me hope, encourages me to keep writing.
So, no matter where you are in your journey as a writer, you need the right tools, a connect with others writers, persistence, patience, lots of practice and when the time is right, all that hard work will pay off. In the meantime keep writing and fill your heart and mind with God's hope and grace.
By J L Wallace/seen first on Graceful Pen