#1 of only 12 sentences you need to define your entire novel.
The first part of your novel is the Setup. It has 5 missions. Four of them will be covered in tomorrow’s post, but the first is so important it gets its own slot.
The first mission of the Setup is setting a killer Hook, giving the reader something so compelling they don’t even consider not reading your book. It’s vital to do this within the first 50 pages. As a general rule, the earlier the better.
It doesn’t have to be the first sentence. Contrary to popular belief, the first sentence won’t make your novel, it will only break it if it’s totally wrong. As long as it’s not broken, your readers will give your novel a few pages to capture them.
But if they’ve spent an hour reading and still wonder when this thing is gonna start, you’re in trouble.
The Hook doesn’t have to be the inciting incident, that is, the event which, known to the protagonist or not, recognized by the reader or not, precipitates the quest.
The Hook should not be the First Plot Point. The Hook must be much earlier. The First Plot Point comes at the end of the Setup, while the Hook is the reason for the reader to even bother reading the Setup.
In my current work in progress, the Hook happens in the first few pages, where the two thugs our hero outwitted in the previous book in the series show up at his front door and ask him to help them recover an artifact we thought was lost from a bad guy we thought was dead.
Even the protagonist can’t resist finding out more about why nothing was as it seemed when the previous story ended.
Hook your readers hard and early. Make it absolutely impossible for them to not read the book.
And then, keep that up for 300 pages or so.
Write one sentence that describes events which will make the reader incapable of putting your book down.
Tomorrow, #2: The Setup.