Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go” as Want to Read:
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  1,337 Ratings  ·  174 Reviews
The road to rejection is paved with bad beginnings. Agents and editors agree: Improper story beginnings are the single biggest barrier to publication. Why? If a novel or short story has a bad beginning, then no one will keep reading. It's just that simple.

In Hooked, author Les Edgerton draws on his experience as a successful fiction writer and teacher to help you overcome
ebook, 260 pages
Published September 30th 2014 by Writers Digest Books (first published April 12th 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hooked, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Hooked

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
First; I didn't finish.

Second; I stopped reading after the third self promoting quote. An author who uses his own work as an example of greater writing is not humble. Furthermore, when I disagree with his opinion, it's hard to trust anything else he has to say on the topic.

Tip: If you're a writer, and you're writing a book about writing, don't use your own work as great examples of anything. Critique your own work. Show how you would want to improve it. Point to other's work that inspires you. N
Veronica Sicoe
If you only read a single book on writing, make it this one.

The beginning of your story is the most important weapon you have to win the reader over. Needless to say that every writer strives to come up with a compelling beginning, and there's tons of advice on creating catchy beginnings out there -- but none of it comes even close to the clarity and practicability of Les Edgerton's "Hooked".

Not only will you get a detailed break-down of what an effective beginning is and how to write one (alo
Carl R.
May 06, 2012 Carl R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I generally don’t care for “craft books” about writing. Most of them seem written more to show off the erudition and insights of the authors than to build the skills of the writers who read them for help. There are a few exceptions, and they’re all books that I’ve found I can put to work in my own pages. Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction is, of course, the classic. Her book takes a lot of work to use properly, but the payoff is high and any deficiencies in results are mine, not hers. David Micha ...more
W.J. Whaley
Jan 09, 2014 W.J. Whaley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not a published author. However, I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Oh, and I read the book Hooked, by Les Edgerton. He IS a published author. And a damn good one at that! So it makes perfect sense that his book, Hooked, is a very well rounded and informative manual on writing fiction that grabs the reader’s attention right from the start.

I have always been a sucker for a great first sentence. As Edgerton explains, this has been the literary standard for quite some time in mode
Liam Sweeny
Nov 17, 2013 Liam Sweeny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: unpublished writers
This seeming "Writer Instruction Book" is a cleverly disguised novel. I was the main character. You will be too if you read it. It's a tragedy, goes something like this... "A newbie writer thinks they've got it down pat, and agents would eagerly gobble up they're latest novel, and then they meet Les Edgerton, evil literary genius, mad scientist of the pages, who, with his "Pin of Truth", pops newbie's bubble, sending them nose-first into a hole they thought they'd filled: The beginning of their ...more
Jan 13, 2015 LKM rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Quite frankly I don't get the reviews this book got. Yes, I put it under "abandoned" books, but not because I fully dropped it, rather because I didn't read it in it's entirety and instead ended up skimming ahead.


First the good: Every so often, you might find some sound advice or tips. But you have to look hard.

Now the bad: The book is repetitive and unnecessarily long. The author uses a lot of examples from his own writing (which I don't find good at all). Every time he gives an example lin
Dec 04, 2011 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got Hooked free on the Amazon store in some promotion or other -- possibly something about NaNoWriMo -- along with a bunch of other books. I don't know exactly why I started reading it; maybe it was the shortest. Anyway, it's the second non-fiction book in a week that's been surprisingly compelling. It's really about writing the first chapter, especially the first paragraph, or even more specifically, the first line of a novel. It's about exactly how to get your readers hooked. And it's really ...more
Nov 07, 2011 LL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read a few Writer's Digest articles written by the same author, so when this book came up on the free list here, I jumped at the chance to download and read it. I've read a number of books on writing, so I'm not a novice looking for something like basic story structure, the importance of tension, etc. I knew the first sentence or three were important, but I'm always open for new ideas and gave this one a chance.

And, honestly, I'll say that the first half of the book is helpful, but the seco
Oct 10, 2014 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ownit
I have many books already on writing, but this was recommended at a recent writer's conference, so I thought I'd try it. Good idea - I really liked it and am applying it already.
The author examines that first sentence, first paragraph, first scene, and shows how critical they are to the success of your book. Firstly, they are needed to grab the reader right away and keep them reading. If your story really doesn't get going for a few pages - too bad. It's going to be back on the shelf or in the
Feb 27, 2013 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
Remember the first time you went fishing? You tagged along with Daddy or Grampa or some kid bigger’n you, and there you were with a real pole and a real line and a real hook, and you were gonna catch something, by golly, and you did — seaweed.
In Hooked, Les Edgerton shows aspiring authors how to land the big one — a full reading by an agent or editor. You bait your hook with a strong opening that pulls the reader right into the action — right where the trouble begins. You set your hook with cha
Feb 08, 2011 Katya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-advice, 2011
A famous saying goes: "My child is the most beautiful in world." That's describes very aptly not only the feelings of a proud parent, but of a proud author as well, and as these cases go, we're sometimes puzzled when other people don't see things the same way.

The truth as per Les Edgerton? Even if they skip on such lowly duties as eating, sleeping and spending time with your family, agents and editors only have 24 hours a day and that's not even close to enought time to read through all the manu
Christine Rains
Feb 27, 2012 Christine Rains rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been to lots of writing classes, seminars, and workshops. I've heard many a time that you need to hook your reader right away. How do you do that? I've never gotten an answer that really helped me. Until now.

HOOKED wiped the fog from my brain. Writing beginnings has never seemed so clear. It's easy to understand and follow. Each section gives you an important key: story-worthy problem, inciting incident, background. Edgerton helps to sweep away all the extra stuff and focus on what is vital
Jul 25, 2009 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book and a must-have for anyone that is writing a novel.

Mr. Edgerton's humor and warmth is translated into words as he guides and empowers you in the lonesome journey that is that of being a writer. His words mixed with the conversation-like approach touch the reader and fills him with such a positive and realistic (quite the combo) outlook for their future novels, that they truly believe nothing can stop them.

Above crafting a great opening for your book, he goes into backstory, fo
Feb 02, 2009 Ransom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: writers
Shelves: about-writing
This book has a conversational style that keeps you turning pages. I also found it to be thought-provoking about current projects I'm writing. It's helpful to think about the beginning, but the author also makes a good point that most books about writing don't include how to look at a project as a whole. I'd recommend this to any would-be writer.
Jeannie Faulkner Barber
Being a novice writer, this book was a life saver. It opened my eyes to a lot of interesting opportunities and devices to keep the reader wanting to turn the page. It focuses on the beginning of your story to help your with setup, backstory, etc. I'm 'hooked' on this book!
Feb 17, 2012 Vivian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Concrete tips and examples to improve one's writing, readers' interest, and chance of traditional publishing.
Rod Raglin
Jan 16, 2017 Rod Raglin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Possibly the most important book you'll read about writing.

Most writers would agree the beginning of a story is the most important part. That's where the reader gets "hooked" and continues read on or abandons the book.

In Les Edgerton's book, Hooked - Write fiction that grabs the reader at page one and never lets them go he describes in broad strokes, fine strokes and with examples how to achieve what his subtitle proclaims.

According to Edgerton, you can't write the opening until you know in sig
Kathy Davie
Jul 29, 2013 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, non-fiction
A nonfictional exploration and exposé of creating a hook to drag your readers in and keep them fascinated.

My Take
This was excellent!! Every single page has useful information on starting your story and fascinating your reader---whether they're a just a plain old reader editor or agent! Edgerton dives into "what agents, editors, and (ultimately) readers expect.

Learn how to avoid that starting red flag that will cause an editor to toss your manuscript aside. Edgerton defines beginnings: op
Al Macy
I bought this book because author Chris Strayln said, in an Amazon review, that it revolutionized the way he wrote beginnings. So I got a sample of Strayln's book, This Time You Lose, and it was about the most exciting beginning I've ever read.

Well, Hooked didn't quite live up to that recommendation. My review meter alternated between 2 and 4 stars while I was reading.

In summary, he's got a few great ideas, but he goes over them and over them. He could have gotten his points across in about 40 p
Feb 13, 2012 Cherie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Les Edgerton’s HOOKED: WRITE FICTION THAT GRABS READERS AT PAGE ONE AND NEVER LETS THEM GO delights in its knowledge to writers and witty humor.

Any writer knows the first pages of a manuscript are the key to acceptance or rejection by agents, publishers, and readers. If the writer can’t grab their readers at the beginning, then that writer has little chance of keeping readers. HOOKED tells writers how to create those intense first chapters by focusing on the elements of opening chapters as well
Lady Entropy
Aug 17, 2012 Lady Entropy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lady by: Aldoa Coelho
This is a very good, very succinct book, that manages to cram a ton of information into a small package.

The only reason why it doesn't get 5 stars is because of the book losing a wee bit of focus by the end, and feels a bit padded instead of shock-full of useful information. I know a few reviewers are pissed off at a perceived lack of "modesty" of the author for using his own books as examples, but honestly? I didn't care and it didn't affect the grade. Honestly, and as he mentions it in the bo
Jul 25, 2009 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hooked is a guide that provides ways to improve openings of fiction writing. It discusses and explains a variety of topics and problems that writers encounter when focusing on the beginning of a manuscript. This book gives problems to avoid as well as tips and components to include.
Hooked has opened my eyes to writing. I really enjoyed this book. I am not sure that I will be writing fiction as a profession, but I can use what I now know by applying it to what I read; I learned how to decipher go
Sep 28, 2016 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was good for tips and bad for examples. The author got very excited over book beginnings that didn't intrigue me or capture my attention. And, as others mentioned, the author quotes his own works for examples, even though you're left wondering what makes his examples stellar in the first place. And he repeats himself quite often, sometimes he makes it sound like he's saying something for the first time (even though it's the third time in the book.) Makes you wonder if he wrote all of t ...more
Lisa Landreth
Hooked is a book for writers to help them get the beginning of their own stories-to-be off on the right foot. There are a lot of suggestions and helpful hints as well as an ending where agents answer questions about how important having a good "hook" to your story is.

I'd have to agree with the friend who let me borrow her copy of this book, the beginning was helpful but after that there was nothing. I think this book could be more helpful to a beginner writer because there wasn't anything new t
Angela Blount
Feb 05, 2012 Angela Blount rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-craft
This isn't the kind of instructional book you'll want to read all in one sitting. I had to put it down a number of times and just chew on the previous few chapters--deciding how to incorporate the advice into my style and approach. I ended up doing a lot of highlighting that I know I'll be coming back to later. It occasionally felt like the author was a bit too impressed with some of the examples from his own work, but it is his book.

Lots of great points and examples to get you thinking differen
Jan 21, 2012 Miko rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The material in this book is great, but for a book dedicated to its topic it didn't hook me. I blame the constant examples. In the kindle version, there's no visual difference in the text of an excerpt from a story and the regular text, so it's hard to jump back and forth between the two.

For some reason, the constant praise offered to these excerpts irked me after awhile as well. Even among well-written books, not every opening will entice every reader. When offered an example opening sentence,
L. Donovan
Dec 02, 2009 L. Donovan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hooked is purportedly about openings. Rather difficult to write 256 pages about just openings, even with extensive examples (many of which are taken from his own works rather than those acknowledged by the writing community as stellar).

Edgerton seems to be trying to carve a niche for himself, creating new, sometimes confusing and self-contradictory terms for each element of good fiction, and introducing the idea that a good opening (or hook, ergo the name of the text) should contain ten element
Jun 09, 2012 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard to explain "hooked" to a free fish except to say, you'll want to allow yourself to be hooked and read this book.

Simple formula to start your book:
"A character begins in stability in the world; this world becomes unstable after the introduction of an inciting incident; the character struggles to restore his stability; and a new stability is established as the conclusion, reflecting the change the protagonist has undergone as a result of the struggle. Almost a mathematical formula: Stability
May 05, 2014 Shelley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
I would have avoided this book had it not been glowingly referenced in a craft book I found very useful.

The author uses his own work (not exclusively, but often) as examples of rock star writing. Also, with all the rhetorial "Wow, wouldn't you just have to read on?" questions...the answer was usually no. No, I wouldn't.

(And for a book that harps on trusting the reader, there were a lot of redundant passages.)

There are lots of five star reviews of this, so perhaps it's just me. YMMV and all tha
Mar 25, 2008 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're a writer and having problems getting your book started off with a hook that will keep the reader turning pages, then this is a good book to read or have on your shelf. Edgerton goes beyond just the opening hook. He also talks about backstory, creating your story-worthy problem, foreshadowing, etc.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play
  • Getting the Words Right
  • The Complete Handbook Of Novel Writing: Everything You Need To Know About Creating & Selling Your Work (Writers Digest)
  • Story Structure Architect: A Writer's Guide to Building Plots, Characters and Complications
  • The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book
  • Write That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now
  • Dialogue: Techniques and exercises for crafting effective dialogue
  • Scene and Structure (Elements of Fiction Writing)
  • Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook: Hands-On Help for Making Your Novel Stand Out and Succeed
  • On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel That Sells
  • Description & Setting
  • Bullies, Bastards & Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction
  • Story Engineering: Character Development, Story Concept, Scene Construction
  • The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
  • Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time
  • The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life
  • The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and Exercises
  • The Writer's Guide to Character Traits: Includes Profiles of Human Behaviors and Personality Types

Share This Book

“Each scene in a story is a battle, and the story entire is a war.” 0 likes
More quotes…