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Shara Rendell-Smock

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Hooking the Reader: Opening Lines that Sell
by Shara Rendell-Smock   

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Books by Shara Rendell-Smock
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Publisher:  Sharon Rendell-Smock ISBN-10:  0965498123 Type: 


Copyright:  2001

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This book contains original material from more than 100 bestselling authors writing about their openers in fiction (mystery, romance, science fiction, western, mainstream).

Shara Rendell-Smock
amazon page, Hooking the Reader

What grabs the reader?

Try these opening lines…

Regina Dalton snapped awake the instant the coffin lid closed.
Jennifer Blake, Kane

She figured it came down to a choice between going to work or committing murder. Aileen Schumacher, Affirmative Reaction

Standing in front of his dresser mirror, the young man pointed the revolver at his reflection. James W. Hall, Under Cover of Daylight

...then read what these authors say about their openers.



Startling words work, too:

Sylvia Markey was holding her cat’s head in her hands. Just the head.
Sylvia was swaying on her feet; I didn’t feel any too steady myself. A whispered “Jesus Christ” floated from behind me. I snatched Ian
Cavanaugh’s make-up towel away from him and wrapped up the cat’s
head, handed the mess to Leo Gunn, the stage manager. (Barbara Paul,
The Fourth Wall)

Paul is satisfied with the opening because it does three things. First, she explained that it establishes the setting without using the word “theater.” Second, it introduces four characters, three of them by name. Third, it presents the initiating incident of the plot.

The author said, “That one took a big risk, because it violates one of the unwritten rules we all know about: you never kill a cat in a mystery. Dogs, horses, people – okay. But never a cat.”

Because The Fourth Wall is a grim story, Paul needed a grim incident to kick it off. That act of inexcusable cruelty set exactly the right tone.

Professional Reviews

The Midwest Book Review
Hooking The Reader: Opening Lines That SELL by award winning author Sharon Rendell-Smock is a no nonsense compilation of literary tips, tricks, and techniques for hooking readers' attention, as provided and described by more than one hundred notable and successful authors ranging from Anne McCaffrey, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, and Larry Niven, to Poul Anderson, Gene Wolfe, and Greg Bear. From first-rate opening lines to ways to best sustain the reader's interest, Hooking The Reader is a veritable showcase of useful insights, information, tidbits, and examples -- and has the absolute highest recommendation for aspiring authors everywhere, regardless of their chosen genre or subject matter.

Review by Word Thunder
Without question, writers must hook the reader immediately. Many will stop reading if they are not hooked within the first paragraph. But how does the writer hook the reader? To answer that question Shara interviewed over one hundred well-known authors for her ambitious book.

Hooking the Reader is chock full of great examples of winning opening lines, as well as good advice from writers, and deserves a place on every writers’ bookshelf.

Sarah Mankowski

KTHX RADIO, Reno NV Book Review by Linda Weber

"Sudden death saved his life." That's the first line of Edna Buchanan's novel Pulse. Don't you want to get that book and find out HOW? Successful authors know you've got to start off with a dynamite beginning to hook the reader.

Hence the name of Sharon Rendell-Smock's book. She's come up with a unique concept: she got more than a hundred best-selling authors to tell their favorite opening lines and why those lines work.

This book is a must for anyone who's ever entertained the idea of writing a novel. Hooking the Reader: Opening Lines That Sell is by Sharon Rendell-Smock. It's $11.95. I recommend it.

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