How to Hook Your Reader

A writer is someone who puts feelings into words, someone who makes a promise to tell the truth to the reader when creating stories about people and how they interact. In order to hook your reader, your characters must have creative freedom, the author needs to choose the perfect words that spell out the truth for each character, allowing them the freedom to ignore any baggage about what Bible-toting Aunt Clara might think. Those important words you choose, the scenes you create, must allow the reader to see your characters as if they are on a lighted stage.

Your characters must move forward as the story progresses. In a character-driven story, a battle is often created between the author and the characters the author has created. A good author lets the characters take over, lets them show their good side, and also their bad side. After all it has been said that no one is all good or all bad. If you want, Ellen, the shy, thirty-five year-old cousin in your story, to refuse to sleep with, the balding, pot-bellied repairman, and she insists that he turns her on, then you must let sex-starved Ellen make her own decision. Believe me, sometimes the characters know better than you do.

If Dina, your teenage main character, is walking down the Main Street in her small town beside her mother, Rose, who is a constant source of embarrassment to Dina. You must show the reader through dialog, inner monologue and action, that walking with her mother makes Dina's belly ache. She longs to have a normal mother like most of her friends do, not a mother who is constantly on the lookout for a new husband. Dina often walks several steps ahead of her mother, who is usually dressed in some outlandish outfit like the tight black pants and the strapless red boob-tube top she's wearing today. "Lord, Dina wonders why she wears stuff like that and when can she get off on her own - for good. It had better be soon. Dina wipes her brow, then scans Main Street. Only ten minutes to go. Rose sees a handsome man walk out of the door of The First National Bank. She stops to talk to him, Dina checks her cell phone. She has a message. It's time.

You, the writer, must make the reader want to find out what is going on here. Has the writer hooked the reader?.

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