I have to confess, this is a skill I have really yet to learn. I understand why a hook is important and I have read countless pages of advice on how to write an interesting beginning to a story, and I still haven't really managed it.
Recently I was looking over my work and I noticed that the large majority of my stories begin with a single character doing something utterly mundane in the morning. I don't know why this is a recurring trend in my writing, but I have at least identified what I am doing and I understand that this does not make for exciting reading.
Advice I have been given:
- Start with action - everyone loves action and putting your characters in danger can make the reader feel sympathetic for them (personally I really don't like stories that begin in these situations as I prefer to care about the character before they get into danger, but I guess it is a matter of opinion).
- Start with dialogue - have your character say something interesting to get the reader interested.
- Start with a mystery - something a bit odd or different that makes the reader want to find out more. I have to put down Orwell's 1984 as a great example of this as in his very first line the clocks struck thirteen.
I'd love to know how everyone else deals with this.