What the Hook

April 18, 2017

Hola, Yoxani here with a question for you. Do you know what writing a hook has to do with an old dying lady?
The answer is simple really, what if the old lady was your grandma and she tells you. “Honey, there is something I need to tell you before I die.” “You are adopted, your mom is-.“ Then she hangs her sneakers without finishing her sentence.
Are you kidding me, this is probably the most important sentence she could ever tell you, but to find out first you have to… yes you guessed it, you have to keep reading.
Well you get the picture, a hook is an essential part of your story, without it your chances to get a reader to continue reading until they reach the end of the story are very low.
All good writers know that in order to engage your readers, the first thing you need is to have a compelling opening sentence or hook. And there are many ways to explain this, the opening sentence of every chapter specially the opening chapter needs to have a strong hook. Otherwise you run the risk to lose your reader. So a hook basically is an interesting engaging sentence that raises a question in the reader’s mind enough to intrigue them and ask themselves “what happens next?” and to read just a little more.

      I’m so glad that I came across the wonderful Mary Buckham at the very beginning of my writing journey, she saved me from lots of headaches with her lessons.
The woman simply has a talent for explaining things in a simple and effective way. And the good news is that she has a couple of books exclusively about writing hooks.
There are different types of hooks and depending on what type of story you are writing; they are essential to your writing. Let’s take a peek at a few of them.
The most common one is raising a question. This one is pretty easy to get, that’s why is one of the most common hooks. Basically all you have to do here is ask “then what?”, or “what happens next?”
My favorite is the surprising situation hook. This hook happens when you start your story with something normal or ordinary but then you end your first sentence with something the reader is not expecting, hence surprising.
There is also the action or danger hook, this one is like a warning that something is about to happen. It’s something the reader will not expect to see in a normal situation.
Something else that is very cool about hooks is that you can have a combination of a couple or a few hooks which makes your opening or closing sentence even stronger, depending what type of story you are working on, this can be a powerful way to engage the reader.
They are many other types of hooks we regularly see in the books we all read and love, but I don’t give much details about the type of hooks and how to create them because the amazing Mary Buckham already did in her series “Writing Active Hooks”, I came across this lady a couple years ago and I’m so grateful I did. Since then I have taken courses from her and read her books, she is a phenomenal fiction writer.
Hooks are like cooking flour tortillas, it requires practice even if you are following a recipe to the A, you still run the risk to end up with hard tortillas the first few times you make them, but after a few tries your tortillas turn softer and even more delicious. This principle applies to many things in life, and writing engaging hooks is no exception, so don’t feel frustrated if you don’t get it right the first time remember that practice make perfection.

 

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