Monday, April 12, 2010

The Hook

Sorry for the delay folks, but RL took over for a few weeks. :-D

After a book premise has piqued your interest, what keeps you hooked?



Is it the cover?

Is it the first sentence? The first paragraph? The first page?

For me it's the first sentence. When an author makes me want more from the first sentence, then I'm pretty certain I'll like the book. For those that don't, I'll give it a chance, but expect it to be pretty boring until some action or something begins.

Even when I don't like a book, I keep reading until the end. Maybe it's because more than likely I've already paid for it, and just have to finish it.

What about you? What hooks you when you read? And do you finish books no matter what? Or do you get bored and put them down forever?

27 comments:

K.Hinny said...

I have this crazy thing about closure, and even if I put a book down for seven years eventually, I have to finish it because I'm sort of nutty.

I've had very few first lines hook me, although the ones that did really dragged me into the story and turned out to be some of my favorite ones.

However some times its more about getting familiar with the characters first, then once I have a strong sense of them I'm hooked.

Aaron Polson said...

I'm a sucker for the cover, then the first sentence, then the first paragraph, page, etc.

If I don't make it past the first page, I won't finish the book. And yes, I've put down quite a few books. I can't keep reading until the end.

Charles Gramlich said...

The concept is what I pay attentioin to first and foremost. DOes it promise an imaginative adventure. Then it's the opening paragraphs, maybe a page or two. I don't pay attention to covers at all. If I get past about 15 pages in a book I will tend to always finish that book, even if I'm not exactly enjoying it. In the last few years I've allowed myself to do more scanning of such books rather than reading every word.

stu said...

I'm forever putting books down, saying 'I must finish this', and then not doing it.

Bernita said...

I used to finish books no matter what almost as a religious duty. Now,I allow myself to toss a tome if it proves less than engaging after a fair shot of several chapters.
It's the plot summary that engages me first.

Tekoa said...

If the summary doesn't grab me, it goes back on the shelf.

Demon Hunter said...

Kara,
I have to finish them too, so don't feel too badly. :-D

Aaron,
I don't know why I keep reading, probably because I have invested money. Maybe I'm just anal like that. LOL. :-D

Charles,
Of course. I always look for the premise, but I meant after you've read the premise and are actually into the story. I usually continue reading even if I don't like it. A friend told me not to waste time reading books I don't like, but I can't help it. :-D

Stu,
Wow.

Bernita,
Me too. :-D

C.,
I agree. :-D

raine said...

A good cover or interesting title will attract me. But usually the book has to engage me in the first 3-5 pages or so.
And I used to read all the way to the end, even if it felt like an assignment, lol. I don't necessarily do that anymore. Time is precious.

Lana Gramlich said...

I tend to read mostly non-fiction, so for me, I'd better be learning something (& the stranger, the better.)

laughingwolf said...

i've bought books and tossed em after a page or two... especially in younger days... if i can't 'live' the tale, i don't finish it, even today

laughingwolf said...

like elmore leonard sez: in writing a story, i try to leave out the stuff people don't read

Mista Jaycee said...

Sometimes it's the cover. A sexxxy Photo or drawing will grab me. Chasing Destiny's cover did that and Minions cover did that!

Michelle H. said...

I finish no matter what, put the book away, and then come back to it at a later point to see if my opinion has changed about the story. You never know. Just because I didn't like it the first time doesn't mean I won't like it later on... kinda like broccoli.

Robin said...

I used to read everything to the end, but now I'll give up on books pretty easily. I give them at least one chapter if it's about something that interests me. I read the blurbs on Amazon for that.

Lately I've been reading customer reviews - how many stars they give the book. Particularly for audiobooks. A stinky reader can kill even a good book.

Demon Hunter said...

Raine,
You're right. Time is precious--but I just can't help myself. ;-)

Lana,
I read a lot of non-fiction too. For research and personal knowledge. ;-)

Tony,
Interesting. :-D I try to leave out the boring stuff in my stories too. :-D

Jaycee,
I knew you'd appreciate the sexy cover. :-D

Michelle,
Sometimes I go read another book and then come back to the boring one. And I always finish it. LOL. :-D

Robin,
I read customer reviews but they don't influence my decision. I mostly read them to help myself as I write. :-D

beth said...

For me, it's the pace. I'm realizing this more and more because I've begun not finishing books. I know! *gasp* But I've wasted too much time with books lately that didn't pay off in the end.

If I find myself skimming, or bored, or skipping ahead...I usually drop the book. The pace is key for me.

Marcia Colette said...

If the book bores me to death, I'll drop it in a heartbeat. The way I look at it, I've already invested enough money and enough time in a book that I refuse to give it any more if it doesn't hold up to its part of the bargain. To be entertaining. I'll skip around as much as I can until it becomes obvious that even that won't help a book get back on track.

As for what captures me, the first chapter. A first sentence doesn't do anything for me. By the time I've gotten to the end of the first chapter, it's forgotten. However, the plot isn't. After that first chapter it's either make it or break it for me.

TK Turner said...

I usually read the whole thing once I start. Reading for me is such an investment. I'm a poor college student...when I spend money on a book, I'm going to "get my money's worth" and read the damn thing. Sometimes just to laugh about it and badmouth it afterwards, but I usually finish what I start.

haricot vert said...

I used to read the entire book, but these days my free time is a lot less than it used to be, so if a book doesn't keep me, I put it down and don't worry about it. Maybe I'll try it again later, we'll see. :)

As for hooks, the back cover blurb, the first page, and the first chapter, those are my testing points. If I'm still reading after the first chapter, most likely the book is coming home with me.

Demon Hunter said...

Beth,
Pace is a good thing. I'm learning it as I write more. Very important. ;-)

Marcia,
Plot is important. There have been first sentences that have never left me. And that's powerful. :-D

TK,
Exactly. :-D That is me too,and I may even eventually join my friends here, but I doubt it. I just have to finish it. LOL.

Vert,
The hook is what usually gets me too. When I go to the bookstore, I generally know what I'm looking for, but I always end up with books I found while I was there. :-D

beth said...

I don't think I'm in the majority, but I'm finding myself more and more attracted to buzz. BEFORE I FALL is not a book I would have picked up normally, but so many blogger friends posted about how amazing it is that I sought it out andbought it in hard cover.

Demon Hunter said...

Beth,
I listen to buzz--sometimes. The book still has to have a very good premise for me to pick it up.

writtenwyrdd said...

Largely, I'm hooked on a work in progress because I, too, want to know what happens. And it's that simple! :)

Don said...

With myself the first two paragraphs usually let me know if I will be finishing the book. So far, well, thanks to being one of those people who stand and read books in bookstores I have been lucky in picking good books so I usually finish them after purchase.

If the first chapter kills....then, I will read it until the final period.

writtenwyrdd said...

Gah, hit return before finished.

For a book that someone else wrote, I likewise need to care what happens. And I need to really be fascinated by and able to immerse myself in the world.

Demon Hunter said...

Don,
You're right. It's important to be hooked.

Written,
I have to care about their world as well. If I don't believe it, I can't get into it.

Mary (The Sweet Bookshelf) said...

I love covers. it is usually the reason I read the book in the first place!

I have those key friends who recommend a book to me and when they do I know I will LOVE it.

I will usually read a book to the end. I mean I bought it didn't I? Or I just have to know how it ends. No matter how awful it is.

I know I'm hooked if I read several chapters and I didn't even notice. It means it is an easy read, something enjoyable and easy to get into. I love all 3!

Oh and anything with a bit of romance. I'm a sucker for it!