Once upon a time . . . it was tradition to begin a story with those words. Today’s reader wants to be hooked. The reader will accept that “once upon a time” opening only for a certain type of story. Regardless of the genre or style of fiction, the beginning of the book is critical.  Often readers will open a book and read the first few paragraphs before deciding to spend their time on the story. If the first lines of the book make the reader go ‘bleh,’ she puts the book down and never opens it again.  If the opening lines hook the reader, the reader enjoys the book for hours. First Lines Arbitrarily defining the opening of the story as the first 100 words, here are the hooks of two of my favorite books. Dune by Frank Herbert, Ace Books 1965 In the weeks before their departure to Arrakis, when all the final scurrying about had reached a nearly unbearable frenzy, an old crone came to visit the mother of the boy, Paul. It was a warm night at Castle Caladan, and the ancient pile of stone that had served the Atreides family as home for twenty-six generations […]