Since I entered the writing arena a couple of decades ago, I have heard about “the hook” ad nauseam. Those who seek to instruct other writers are very big on the hook as essential. Many limit their concept of a hook to one or two sentences. Others are a bit more expansive and allow for a situational hook. Regardless, the hook seems to be the only avenue for ensuring the reader gets beyond the first page. In reader/writer groups, I see so many readers who comment they tossed a book because the first couple of pages didn’t titillate them. All I can say is that they have deprived themselves of many a great read.
Entering into a relationship with a book is similar to getting to know a new neighbor. You watch out your window while they are unloading the moving van. You see members of the family milling around. In your head, you’re already imagining who they are and what they’ll be like even though you haven’t yet stepped into their world. Maybe you’re not impressed one way or the other. Still, you leave yourself open to the possibility things will change once you know more about them.
Some books are like this. Initially you watch the mundane happenings, but you aren’t truly invested yet in the characters. Instead of being impatient, you stay in there, and suddenly you don’t know when it happened, but you are totally caught up in their story! This has happened to me so many times, and I was so glad I gave the story the benefit of the doubt.
The bottom line of all these words is that there will be some books that don’t suit you at first glance and others that click with you immediately — rather like people. Just don’t make snap judgments based on the lack of an immediate “hook.” Have a little faith. There may be rewards you never expected.
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