A hook is an opening statement, the first few sentences in your paragraph, or your introduction. It’s usually between one and four sentences long. The purpose of the hook is to catch the reader’s attention. The single goal of your hook is to grab your reader’s attention so that they will want to keep reading. There are different hooks so you can open with a good question, quote, or story.
The most powerful hooks are those that grab the reader on an emotional level. Author Jerry Jenkins gives four types of other opening hooks. You can use a surprising statement. You can use a dramatic statement, a philosophical statement, or a poetic expression type statement. It’s your goal in your introductions, in your chapter, beginnings, and even sometimes in your paragraph beginnings.
You are trying to trap your reader’s attention. Always do that when you open up. Hook them with something to trap them in your writing, to keep them reading on. So use some catchy hook to trap your readers, and I’ll help you to do that. Stay with me.
How to write a hook? (With Example)
A hook is vital because it’s the first thing the reader reads. They read your title, and then they read your hook. So if you can write a good hook, it sets the tone for your essay or story.
There is no particular rule about how to create a hook. The only goal here is to get the reader to keep reading. So anything that successfully gets people to want to continue reading your book will work as a hook. You don’t have to do it any particular way, and you will see a lot of variety in the types of hooks that writers use and how they pull the reader into the story. The way you hook readers is highly dependent on the type of novel you’re writing, the plot, the setting, and a lot of other elements.
So you have to make a judgment call based on what you think is the best foot to put forward, the best information to open with, and the best way to pull in the right readers for your story. It’s important to remember you want to pull in readers that will love your story, not readers that might be attracted to an opening scene that falsely represents your novel. So make sure that you’re opening Hook is as representative of your novel as possible. One thing you want to remember is that your hook must be connected to the topic of your story.
So you might think of a great hook, but if it’s not related to the topic of your story, then it could be more effective. So there are several ways to write a hook for your story. I will go over 7 tips to create a strong opening hook that will work with your story.
1. Add an interesting setting
The setting is widespread if you’re writing science fiction or fantasy, but it might also work for historical and certain kinds of contemporary fiction. It can work very effectively as a hook if you have a location or a time period that’s particularly unique or interesting. It’s especially true if something unusual like dystopian or science fiction exists in space on a spaceship. But you have to be realistic about how unique the location is.
Are there many other novels set in this place or similar places? Because that will prevent this from being a strong hook. The location or the time period works best if there’s something remarkably different about it. There are only a few other novels set in a similar place.
2. Show the character’s circumstance
This could be an unusual occupation and occupation that readers don’t usually get to see or even an occupation that’s wholly fictional but is very interesting and can grip the reader into the story. It could also be something more personal, such as a disability, a magical ability, or something about your character’s situation that’s different or unique from other novels.
3. Put interesting question
Questioning is the most universally functional and effective hook, and that’s to raise some questions in the reader. It can be any question that will compel the reader to want to continue to see what happens to get the answers. Because when you raise a question, the reader will want to stick around to figure out what the answer is to that question. It doesn’t mean you’re directly raising a question. It means you’re providing a circumstance. Also, you’re creating a scene that causes the reader to have questions.
It could be something like, Why is there a dead body in the living room? Why is she poisoning the soup? There are lots of questions you can raise that will work very effectively. Rather than putting all the information forward, you can cause the reader to get pulled into the story, to want to keep reading, to get those answers.
4. Create a conflict
Create a conflict that demonstrates what your character is trying to achieve. In other words, this is a conflict that shows your character in action, shows them trying to accomplish something that ties in with that character’s goal for the story. It can be something other than the main plot because your main goal starts after the novel’s beginning. Still, it should be a goal that the character pursues at the beginning of the story before introducing the primary conflict.
It can be a goal that the character is taking action towards, and that can make the reader connect with this character. Because when the reader sees this character taking action and being proactive, it can help to pull the reader into the story.
5. Demonstrates the Problem
Show the character in a conflict that demonstrates their problem. It’s a situation where the character’s problem is displayed, where you can see what the character is dealing with. You can see how they’re suffering, and you can give the reader an impression of what the story will be about.
So rather than in number four, where the character is trying to achieve their goal, this is more focused on the negative by demonstrating the problem. What’s causing this character pain? What’s causing this character to suffer? It gives the reader the impression of what your character will have to deal with as the story progresses.
6. Use a shocking statistic
A shocking statistic would be a number that makes the reader stop and say, Wow, I want to know more about this topic. An example: Every year, more than 1 million people immigrate to the United States. So this is a good hook because the number 1 million is so large that it makes the reader stop and think. Here’s another hook example: 258 million people now live outside their country of birth. Again, that number is huge, and the reader will probably stop and think, Wow, I didn’t know that.
7. Use quote
Use a quote from a famous person, or it could be a well-known saying from your culture, like a proverb. Try not to use quotes that have already been overused. Also, when you write a quote, you should add a short phrase explaining who the writer was. Finally, briefly explain what the quote means or how it’s related to your topic. You’ll keep the quote and then write the rest of your introduction.
Here’s an example: No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark. This quote by a person named Shyer, a writer whose family left their country when she was a baby reflects how difficult it is for people to leave their home country. So that’s an excellent quote. It’s directly related to the topic of immigration.
Bonus Tip: Add a metaphor
A metaphor is when we use two nouns that seem entirely unrelated but have something in common. It’s a fun way to catch your reader’s attention. Usually, with a metaphor, we use the word like to show that two things are similar. Here’s an example: In the famous movie Forrest Gump, he says, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get”.
So in this metaphor, we have two completely unrelated nouns, life and a box of chocolates. But Forrest Gump says that life is like a box of chocolates. Why? Because you never know what you’re going to get. Here’s an example of a metaphor as a hook for our immigration topic: For immigrants, moving to a new country is like gambling at a casino. They might win big, or they might lose it all.
Most novels will use multiple aspects of these opening hooks. Many stories rely on something other than one of these options to pull the reader into the story. For example, the opening line of The Invisible Man is I am an invisible man. This hooks the reader both on the circumstances. That gives you an impression of what this man will have to face. It also raises questions Why is this man invisible? How did this happen? What does this even mean? So you can use multiple hooks to draw the reader into the story even more significantly.
To summarize, there are many different ways that you can create a hook for your novel. Five of these ways are: with the circumstance, with the setting, by raising an interesting question that causes the reader to want to continue, by showing the character in a conflict that focuses on what they want to accomplish, and by showing the character in a conflict that demonstrates their problem. There are many other ways to hook the reader, but these are the most common ways you will see.
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