Hi, I'm Ray Evans. I'm a certified copyeditor and proofreader.
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Listen, folks, if you're gonna write a novel, you better make sure you're setting the bait in that first
chapter, okay? You've got to hook those readers like a hungry catfish on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and
you want to reel them in with the finesse of Ernest Hemingway (sans beard, of course).
So here's the deal, buckaroo. I'm going to dish out the secret sauce that'll have your readers hooked
faster than you can say "William Shakespeare on a pogo stick."
Now let's get down to brass tacks, or in this case, brass quills, and explore some techniques that'll grab
your reader's attention and keep 'em turning those pages like a crack addict flipping through a
1: Start with a bang or an intriguing question – or both!
Hey, you know what people love?
A good mystery.
You want to get your readers curious, like a group of meddling kids and their talking Great Dane,
so hit 'em with a question right off the bat.
Or, better yet, give them an opening line that makes them sit up straighter than
a monk in a yoga class.
Just make sure you're not starting off with a whimper like a sad trombone solo, got it?
2: Create a vivid setting that's as tantalizing as tiramisu
Look, people want to be transported to new worlds, and that's where you come in,
Mr. or Ms. Author.
You've got to build a setting that's so immersive, it's like dropping your reader into a virtual reality
headset, and they're walking through the streets of your world with a Starbucks venti latte in hand.
I'm talking full-on, technicolor, surround sound, HD settings here. Give them a world to get lost in, and
they'll follow you to the ends of the earth, or at least the end of the book.
3: Introduce compelling characters who could teach charisma to a cardboard cutout
Characters! They're the lifeblood of your novel, and you want to create the kind of people who
could charm the pants off a snake. Make 'em bold, make 'em interesting, and make 'em
as multi-faceted as a psychedelic disco ball.
Readers want characters they can love, hate, and love to hate.
So develop those bad boys and girls like an old-school Polaroid photo – with depth and nuance, and
not like a pixelated mess you'd find on a first-gen iPhone camera.
Numero Cuatro: Don't bury the lead like a bone in a dog park
I cannot emphasize this enough: You have to let your readers know what the stakes
are from the get-go, okay? Give them a reason to care about the story you're spinning,
or else they'll be more disinterested than a cat in a bathtub.
Make it clear what's at stake, and why they should invest their time and emotional
energy into the tale you're weaving.
So, there you have it, my literary virtuosos!
Follow these Ray Evans-approved tips, and your readers will be more hooked than
a pirate's hand at a fishing convention.
Good luck with your novel, and remember – write like the wind, and edit like a slow, methodical
tortoise on a caffeine binge.