The Hook

How do I begin?

I don’t think I was ever taught this in school. But I was fortunate enough to learn of this through perusing writing magazines like The Writer and Writer’s Digest along with many other writing books I’ve read over the years. And oh yes, how could I forget…the course with the Institute of Children’s Literature. If there’s one thing I remember from that course, it’s ‘Begin with a Bang!’.

Even my 11 year old has grasped this in her writing, and I have to say, she’s pretty good at figuring out a captivating hook. Nevertheless, if you’ve read a lot of good stuff, you’re bound to be intuitive about this, or at least, that was how it felt to me. Without even realizing it, you are already making a prominent notch in that smooth wood you’re about to carve.

So how do I begin? How do I begin with a bang?

Anecdotes. People love stories. Story telling is an old art form that is still being used today, albeit in different forms, thanks to technology.

Questions. When you begin with a question, it hooks the reader in. Humans are curious by nature.

Quote. Especially mind provoking ones, are sure to grasp the reader for the long haul.

Action. This is especially true for fiction. A story that begins right where the action takes place is more likely to grab the reader than a story that begins by laying out the history, setting or genealogy.

Dialogue. This is also another technique in both fiction and non fiction that has the power to grab the reader from the start. I told you, humans are curious creatures. Busy bodies too.

A word. Sometimes, just one word, can hook a reader to stay and read the second sentence. Depends how you use it.

Like I said, if there’s one thing I learned and remember about writing, it’s ‘Begin with a Bang!’.


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