By Lynn Bohart
May 31, 2021
What is a hook?
In fishing, it’s a sharp pronged device to snag (or hook) the fish so that you can pull it in and catch it.
It’s not much different in writing. An author will purposely craft a sentence or short paragraph at the beginning of the book or chapter to grab your attention. Why? To draw you in and make you keep reading. It’s a simple concept but not always simple to do.
Hooks are often written in the form of a question. What if she couldn’t get away? Why does this draw you in? Because not only is it ominous, it demands an answer. You’ll keep reading to find out what happens.
Hooks are also written as demonstrative statements. It was a good night for a murder. That’s the opening line from my book, “A Candidate for Murder.” It tells you everything you need to know about where this book is going, and if you’re a mystery reader, you’re in seventh heaven.
A hook can also just inspire your curiosity. A noise from somewhere in the bowels of the old
house woke her. Well, doesn’t that just make you want to know what’s going on downstairs?
In the same way authors carefully craft cliff hangers at the end of chapters to get you to turn the page, hooks are carefully crafted to draw you into the story. Pay attention the next time you pick up a book and see if you can identify the hooks.