Saturday, May 24, 2014

Hooking Your Readers

The hook is one of the most important parts of your novel. It's what gets the readers interested in your story. A bad hook disinterests readers and also makes it tough to get an agent interested. A good hook, on the other hand, can captivates your readers and makes them want to keep reading.

But how do you write a good hook? It can be challenging, and usually you'll have to rewrite it many times to make it just perfect, but it is possible.

Just to get this out of the way, don't start with the weather. As easy as it is to describe the weather in beautiful words, it doesn't get the reader's attention.

Which of these sentences would you rather read?
"The wind rustled the trees' leaves as the sun lowered beyond the horizon." OR
"A hand muzzled my scream as I began to fade into blackness."

Personally, I prefer the second. It leaves you wanting more. Whose hand muzzled the scream? Who's screaming? Why are they screaming? The first, on the other hand, doesn't make you question anything. Sure, it sounds nice, but it doesn't grab the reader's attention.

There are many different ways you can start to interest your reader. One of them is with action and danger, as I did above. Readers want to know what's going on with the character and why it is going on.

Another way is to start with a short and sweet sentence that leaves you wondering what's going on. See something similar with this one and the action? They both leave the reader wondering.

You don't want to tell your reader everything, and the key to a good hook is to leave them with a question in their mind. Readers are curious, and if they have a question, they'll want to find the answer.

So whatever you write for your hook, make sure your reader has a question in their mind. If they do, it will make them more likely to keep reading.

How do you grab your reader's attention? Was this helpful? Let me know in the comments.