All stories make a point by reviewing a bad and good example. Author Lisa Cron walks you through an example of how to write a solid hook that will keep your reader engaged.
- Imagine you pick up a new novel, turn to the first page and this is what you read. - [Writer] The day dawned clear and bright. The sun was shining and the sky was a vivid blue. Morning was his favorite time of day and he liked to savor it. At last he got up and went to window and pulled the shade. He saw kids walking to school with their big sneakers and their heavy backpacks. He saw a few energized souls riding their bikes to work, their messenger bags slung across their backs. to give at the morning meeting, he yawned, turned from the window and started dressing for work. Let's see if we can figure out why three questions readers will have. Whose story is it? Tommy's, so far so good. Absolutely nothing. There's nothing out of the ordinary here. We have no idea what his story'll be about which means there's nothing for readers to anticipate and nothing for them to read forward to find out. No curiosity, no rush of dopamine, no reader. Let's see if we can make Tommy's story and his day just a wee bit more intriguing. - [Writer] On Tuesday, Tommy woke up knowing that by noon, his fate would be decided. He was either going to convince Anne that he was worth hiring as a junior graphic designer or he was going to have to move back to his parent's house in Bethesda and become just another graduate who couldn't get a job. He was sure the presentation he'd prepared was slick. recorded music, but as he put on his best suit and tie, okay, it was his only suit and tie, the image of his childhood bedroom crept into his mind. under his bed, the poster of Radiohead on the wall, the old electric guitar still in its stand, and his little sister standing in the doorway, That bedroom was a graveyard of dead dreams. If he had to go back now, how would he ever get out? - Now let's see what we have. Tommy is about to make the presentation of his young life, something that clearly What's at stake? His job, his home, and most important, his sense of self. So is this the beginning of a story? at least enough to read on to find out what happens when Anne sees his presentation. A presentation we can't help suspecting might not be quite as successful as he hopes it'll be. This opening paragraph has done its job; it's given us a glimpse of what the overarching story will be about and it stands a good chance of piquing the reader's curiosity.
- What is a story?
- Hooking your reader
- Feeling what the protagonist feels
- Being specific
- Creating suspense and conflict
- Writing flashbacks and subplots