Learn it fast with expert-taught software and skills training at lynda.com. See what you can learn

By Lisa Cron | Monday, March 04, 2013

How to Hook Your Reader From The Very First Page

Think stories are just for entertainment? They’re not. Stories are simulations that allow us to vicariously experience problems we might someday face. Think of them as the world’s first virtual reality—minus the geeky visor. Story was more crucial to our evolution than opposable thumbs. All opposable thumbs did was let us hang on. Story told us what to hang on to.

The great feeling of enjoyment we get when a story grabs us is nature’s way of making sure we pay attention to the story. It’s a survival mechanism. Do you know what that feeling is? A rush of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It’s your brain’s way of rewarding you for following your curiosity and finding out how the story’s problem is solved.

That’s why, when it comes to writing, the most important thing to master is the craft of story. Because it turns out that the brain is far less picky about beautiful writing than writers have been taught to believe.

Yes, writing well is a good thing—only a fool would deny that. But what matters most is that the story hooks the reader from the first sentence. How? By igniting the brain’s hardwired desire to find out what happens next. That’s what gives all those beautiful words all their power in the first place.

Lisa Cron explains how story captivates the brain.

So, how do you ignite the reader’s curiosity on that crucial first page? There are three things readers innately hunt for as a story begins.

Get the latest news

  •   New course releases
  •   Pro tips and tricks
  •   News and updates
  
New releases submit clicked

You can change your email preferences at any time. We will never sell your email. More info

Featured articles

A lynda.com membership includes:

Unlimited access to thousands of courses in our library
Certificates of completion
New courses added every week (almost every day!)
Course history to track your progress
Downloadable practice files
Playlists and bookmarks to organize your learning
Become a member

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.