Hooks: Great Lines and Sinkers

The writing journey is full of advice about hooking your reader. For an article or essay, a great opening line or a creative approach might constitute a hook. In a novel, revisions to that opening paragraph might be the last thing the author tinkers with, making sure that hook is not only going to grab readers, but that it gives some hint about the overall story or theme.  What are the elements of a good hook?
Writing Tip for Today: In my opinion these are among the most vital elements when writing a hook:

  • The hook sentence creates reader curiosity.
  • The hook gives enough info so as not to be vague, but not so much that it answers all the questions.
  • The hook gives a glimmer of the theme or story premise.
  • The hook in fiction starts to build reader sympathy for a character. In nonfiction, the hook begins to persuade the reader to see things a certain way.
  • The hook establishes the tone of the work. Serious, funny, somber, light?
  • The hook functions as a portal where the reader enters the story world.
  • The hook makes the reader energized and eager to read more.

There are probably more things a good story hook does. Can you name some?

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

2 comments on “Hooks: Great Lines and Sinkers

  1. Often times, the hook is in the Prologue (if the writer has one) or the rare Introduction. I know of at least two authors who used intros: Michael Crighton for Jurassic Park and Matthew Woodring Stover for Star Wars Revenge of the Sith. They hooked me instantly. Without them, I would never have considered picking them up for fear that they might be horrible.

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