Writers of fiction are pretty familiar with the term hook. Sol Stein calls it the moment when the story’s engine gets started. It’s a good analogy: the hook is going to reel the reader in so the author can take them along for the ride.
Therese already highlighted the main components to a good hook in her blog entry below, so I’m not going to belabor the point. I’d just like to add one more thing to the list: finesse. Devilish hard to master, essential in storytelling. A great hook isn’t one that clubs you over the head and says, “See, here. Conflict. Peril. Action verbs. Look, look!” A great hook need only be that moment in the story when the protagonist’s world is about to change.
One of the best openers I ever read was by Melissa Bank in her debut novel, The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing. Over the years I’ve shaken my head over the fiendish deception of her hook. See if you agree. [Read more…]