- Always start in the middle of a scene. This is the biggest, most important advice I can give you. As you may have noticed with my hooks from The Sound of Snow, I started in the middle of each scene. Don't believe me?
"Kitty was ready to kill someone, damn the consequences."
"With five younger sisters, William Huntley, the sixth earl of Rochester, had thought he’d seen it all. Lord, had he been wrong."
- Next, I've seen several books where they begin with a question. Although these work sometimes, I find more often than not they are redundant. It's like putting a question in your query letter, like: Have you ever seen a one-legged Rastafarian mow grass while riding a bike with his crutch?* Clearly most people have never seen that, so the question is dumb. The only time this works, in my opinion, is if the question nabs your attention and you want to find out WHY the author is asking you this. Another way this works is if the character comes back with some smart ass response, or some response that makes the question more amusing, like:
Have you ever seen a one-legged Rastafarian mow grass while riding a bike with a crutch? Neither have I.*
- Statements are also very good at nabbing the readers attention. Again, you want the feeling of immediacy. Earlier I talked about starting in the middle of the scene, and this is what I mean. Even if the rest of your beginning has a slower feel to it, you have to have something instantly grab the reader and suck them in.
The thunder of horses woke her.
Using the moonlight that filtered in from the intricate wood screens as a guide, Adeena drifted down the private corridor to her father’s study.
His brother asked too much.
With his legs braced apart and his hands fisted at his sides, William de Clare stared incredulously at his lord. “Tell me you jest.”
“Lord have mercy,” Elizabeth breathed, her eyes glued to his powerful frame.Kitty nodded, unable to speak. She felt hot all over, flushed; her heart rate kicking into overtime as she continued to stare at him. Her mouth was dry. Her skin tingly.
Who was he?