Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What I've Learned Wednesday: The Essential Writing Hook

Honestly, months ago, the beginning of my book was blah, bland, boring. I described the setting more than anything else. Bad Idea. An absolute fiction writing no no. You can describe, but don’t make it your ONLY purpose for the beginning of your book. The beginning of my story was good, but lacked what would thoroughly entwine a reader into my story. I did some research on fiction writing back in December and realized that I had to jump right into the story, and I literally did do that. The first chapter in my book is called "Jump" and for good reason. On the first page, I left no room for doubt that this story is going to be a trip. It is going to be mysterious. It is going to make you ache to find out what's going to happen.

This brings me to hooks. Hooks leave the reader wanting more. They may bring a new element into the story. They may stop abruptly in the middle of something intense, therefore, your reader turns the page to the next chapter. Hook your reader into your story from the very beginning and, thereafter, keep hooking them in at the end of every chapter.

I just started reading “Across the Universe” by Beth Revis. Her first chapter left me with that ache to know what's going to happen. Each subsequent chapter left me with the same feeling. She utilizes the hook to press your nose farther into the book. Also, Cassandra Clare is brilliant with hooks to the point where all I could think about is what is going to happen to Clary or Jace or Simon. Her series “The Mortal Instruments” got me hook, line, and sinker (cliché, I know). They made me want to keep reading, even deep into the night.

Hooks are not just important, they’re CRUCIAL to keep the reader interested. No fictional writing should be done without hooks.

As I said before, a hook found in the first chapter is imperative. We all have read books where we stop reading it because it doesn’t catch or hook our attention. This may be because the hooks aren’t strong enough to make a reader want to invest their time in the book. Yep, reading is an investment, so write something that makes people want to invest their time in your book. Undoubtedly, hooks will force your reader to press forward with your story. Hook them so they will not leave your book behind—but will relish in every page—chapter after gripping chapter.


  1. I'm converted to writing with those hooks. They seem a natural place to end a chapter.
    Thanks for following my blog, nice to meet you and yours!

  2. Lydia - thank you for following my blog too. Yep, hooks are where its at.

  3. I've been reading your last few posts and admiring your pluck and determination. Every so often I just want to give up on blogging, the novel, any kind of writing, and then I come across someone like you--the encourager. I dare say you'll go far.

  4. Walk2write - Thank you sooooo much. Yesterday I was having one of those what-am-I-even-writing moments. Hearing you praise me like that has given me hope. I think everyone feels like they want to quit in the world of writing and social networking. It is HARD! I hope that I can encourage people TO write, read, and go forward with their passions and dreams. You can do it! Thanks again.