IF CRAFTING OPENING HOOKS WERE ONLY EASY.
Our opening hooks often define our characters or showcase the literary world we've created for our readers' enjoyment.
Take the beginning paragraph of my Storm's Interlude, I needed to set the scene:
Someone swaggered out of the moonlit night toward Rachel. Exhausted from a long day of driving, she braked and blinked. Either she was hallucinating or her sugar levels had plummeted. Maybe that accounted for the male mirage, albeit a very magnificent male mirage, trekking toward her. She peered once more into the hot July night at the image illuminated by her headlights. Sure enough, there he was, cresting the hill on foot—a naked man wearing nothing but a black cowboy hat, a pair of boots and a go-to-hell sneer.
Gunfire jarred Annalee Gallagher. She straightened in her seat, her heart pounding. Another bullet zinged past the stagecoach, and the older couple sitting across from her gasped in unison. Heaven help her, she’d escaped one nightmare only to find herself in the middle of another.
Or in a different country like the second book of my romantic suspense trilogy?
It wasn’t the hardened man who eased his motorcycle to the curb that snagged Gwen Morningstar’s attention. Nor was it the wide spread of his shoulders or the way his black jeans hugged his muscled thighs like a pair of lover’s hands. For sure, it wasn’t the long scar on his right cheek or the small silver cross that dangled from his ear. No, it was his pristine-white angel wings that dragged on the pavement.
Odd that Parisians hurried past without so much as a second glance. As if seeing a mountain of a man riding a Harley with angel wings flowing down his back was as common as citizens carrying unwrapped crusty loaves of bread in their hands. No one gawked as their feet tattooed a staccato beat on the busy pavements of the City of Light. Few things fazed Parisians, it seemed.
Can opening the story with internal dialogue work? I used it in Back Where You Belong:
What the hell?
Tyler Desmond whirled away from the shot he was about to make at the pool table to grasp for whatever caused the sudden, stinging pain at the back of his neck. When his fingers closed around a dart, he yanked the offending object out, searching through the crowd in the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk for the bastard who dared throw one at him.
In a short story, I needed to establish some things about my heroine right away.
Her lungs stopped working. This couldn’t be happening. Hope Morningstar read the words on her cell’s screen once more. Black spots danced across her vision field, and she finally breathed again. “He broke up with me!” Her gaze jumped from the screen to her sister’s questioning face. “Barclay broke up with me…in a text!”
Gracie snatched the cell from Hope. “Let me see.”
Hope rested her elbows on the table and dropped her face into her hands. This can’t be happening—not again.
I can't tell you what version you're reading of each. I struggled with every one. What about you? How hard is it for you to create your opening hook?