Want to Hook Your Reader Immediately?

There’s something so thrilling and delicious about reading a really hooky first sentence or engaging first pages in a book – you just know you’re about to be taken on a great ride.

Is there a writer on the planet who doesn’t want their first pages to thrill, delight and intrigue?

I’m guessing no.

And on a practical level – first pages are generally the first thing judges, editors, publishers and assessors get to see of your work.  So take a moment to answer these questions.

There’s no right answer – they’re simply a list of provocations to help you ensuree your first pages are as awesomely shiny as they can be.

Welcome to your Better First Pages Checklist.

  1. What do your first pages set up about your story? The when, the where, the who or the what? It can be any one or more of these – there’s no hard and fast rule.

  2. How do your first pages create intrigue for the reader i.e. a reason to read on? What hooks them in?

  3. Which words, images or scenarios have you used to establish when in time your story occurs? Is there a more evocative, original or intriguing way?

  4. How have you established the setting i.e. the where?

  5. How have you established who the story is about i.e. the who?

  6. What characterisation techniques have you used to introduce them?

  7. How do you want the reader to feel about this character?

  8. What techniques have you used to achieve this?

  9. What language have you used to evoke the senses or emotions?

  10. Are there better more evocative words you could use?

  11. How would you describe the pace of your piece?

  12. What techniques have you used to create that sense of pace?

  13. What does your first line do for you narratively speaking?

  14. Once you’ve answered this go try it out on somebody and ask about their response.


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