opening hooks

a collection of literary beginnings

created by: - Grodworks

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You're in the bookstore, browsing the shelves for... something. You don't know what, exactly, you're looking for but you'll recognize it when you see it. Picking a book at random you open to the first page and begin to read. Two hours later you're home in bed with a mug of sweet tea, still reading.

Chip Kidd once said, "A good book cover makes you want to pick it up. End of story." More often then not, however, a gripping first sentence or paragraph prevents you from putting it back down. The opening hook. It's a simple concept, reading is linear, time is finite. What keeps a reader reading is the opening hook.

The opening hook is also the first thing an editor sees. This is especially true of short stories since the standard manuscript guidelines at most literary magazines calls for the first half of the first page to be blank save for title, author's name, and contact information. If an author wants to be published, she must grab the editor's attention with that first paragraph or suffer rejection.

The idea behind this site is simple, to compile as large a collection of great opening hooks from as many titles, authors, and genres as possible. Of course, what makes a great opening sentence or paragraph is subjective, but we know it when we read it. This database will allow readers to share their favorites with each other and provide writers a chance to see what readers look for in an opening sentence.

Now that you know what it's all about, why not browse the database? Or, if you already have some favorites in mind add a hook. Of course, if you just want some advice here are a few thoughts on what makes a great opening hook.

One last thing. The aim of this project is to collect the best opening hooks. This is, obviously, a highly subjective proposition. However, by ranking your favorites we may be able to reach some kind of consensus. So go ahead and vote on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being mediocre and 5 being superlative. 4-bedroom Odessa apartments can be very comfortable for a big family.