H … is for hook


is for hook.

What do I mean by a hook?

A hook will exist in a variety of writing, from articles, t0 poetry, short stories and novels. It is that magnetic word, or group of words, that grips the attention of a prospective reader or browser, and turns that person into a reader.

My own rule for short stories is to create a hook within the first 30 words. It may go over by one or two, but generally I manage to keep it pretty tight.

Example 1:  Opening lines of my short story, ‘Duty Bound’.

‘Gary felt pain throughout his body.  He opened his eyes and gasped.  A small monkey that had been studying him from six inches away shrieked, and scurried along the high branch.’ (31 words

Example 2:  Opening lines of my short story, ‘Mary had a little gun’.

‘Standing in the remote, disused warehouse; Mary stared through the broken windows.  Her tortured thoughts drifted back briefly, to life before she became a wife and mother.  She had been a different person then. (34 words

When writing a novel, I may not follow the template suggested by the ‘How to …’ books, but I do create a hook within the first 3 – 5 pages. I also create a hook early, and late in each chapter. In a novel, they are better described as cliff-hangers.

I tend not to give the solution to the cliff-hanger too early in the next chapter, preferring in some cases to keep it under wraps for maybe two chapters or more. Some solutions might be kept from the reader for longer, but I make sure the solutions are worthy of such a wait. The key thing is; they must exist to keep the reader going.

A good choice of title, cover, or both, might be enough to capture interest, but the writer must create a recurring interest to keep those pages turning. The story must tease the reader’s inquisitive nature, sometimes allowing the reader to play detective for a while, and then the solution to one issue is overlapped by creating a new one.

Your task as a writer is to entertain and lure the prospective reader into looking beyond the title of the short story, or novel. Tease them into looking at that first page, and then draw them in, line by line, and page by page.

If those hook examples have worked for any of you, those two stories are available on this blog. As always, thank you for reading, and I’ll see you back here for … ‘I’.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Enjoy The Visit

Author Theresa Jacobs

Blog Stories Books

Writing to be Read

Author's Blog - Book Reviews, Author Profiles and Reflections on Writing

Tom Benson - Artist

Before there was photography ...

Rebecca Bryn

Author and artist

Sarah Stuart - Romantic Suspense

Award-winning writing that pushes the boundaries

Frank Parker's author site

A Septuagenarian's ramblings

Lucinda E. Clarke - Author

Adventures in Africa and other places

Andrew Updegrove: Tales of Adversego

One author's exploration of the evolving self-publishing labyrinth

authordesignstudio's Blog

A great WordPress.com site

Ra Winter Writer

Native American Romance Writer, Urban lit, Romance, Fantasy

Indie Lifer

News and rants on publishing, health, and spiritual stuff.


Reviews & More


My interviews with many authors

The Quill Pen Writes

Latest work releases, preview cover designs and reviews of other authors

Lesley Hayes

The Lesley Hayes Blog

The Last Krystallos

Its those silly dreams that keep us alive...

lucinda E Clarke

My blog - My books - and other interesting stuff about my adventures

Eric Lahti

Livin' the Henchlife

Nikki McDonagh - author and photographer

A look at writing, publishing and photography

Vagina Antics

A sometimes sweet, always naughty sex blog


fiction and other writing

shehanne moore

Smexy Historical Romance

Maxpower's Blog

Books and writing

Indie author support & Discussion

We welcome readers and writers and aim to provide a wide selection of reading and resource material

Princess of Dragons

A world of imagination, writing and dragons

Damyanti Biswas

For lovers of reading, writing, travel, humanity

Writing - Beginning and Beyond

Where I've been, where I'm at, and where I want to go with writing...

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: