Please welcome another Spotlight Author from Rave Reviews Book Club – April Adams
Ah, the elusive “hook.”
What is it, exactly? When should it happen in relation to the rest of the story?
Those are very important questions and can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful book.
The “hook” is that point where your reader is engaged. Usually it’s the initial plot point, but sometimes it can be the very first sentence if done well enough. Sometimes it’s the writer’s style that hooks more than any plot or character device. It’s a tool we can use to make sure the reader can’t put our book down. And, there is more than one hook to be utilized.
- The Initial Hook – This should happen within the first ten pages of your book. That’s within the first one or two chapters, give or take. If you wait longer than this the reader is likely to get bored, and that’s something you definitely don’t want. Start your story as close to that first plot/character pivot point as you can so that the hook happens as soon as possible. If it’s a murder mystery, lead with the murder not the backstory of the characters. If it’s a literary novel make sure the character faces some dire or life-changing event right off the bat. If it’s a thriller, start it off going zero to sixty in nothing flat. Know your genre, know your hook.
- The End of the Chapter Hook – This is just as important, if not more so. Have you ever been reading a book and thought, “I’ll just read to the end of this chapter, then I’ll go to sleep,” only to have that chapter end in a way that you couldn’t possibly stop there? That’s the end of chapter hook. Make sure you include this at the end of most, if not all, chapters. End with something unfinished, conflicts still heated, mysteries getting more and more mysterious. Just because someone is hooked initially doesn’t mean they’ll keep reading if you don’t keep them wanting more.
- The Pacing Hook – Pacing is tough to master but for those of us serious about writing, it’s as important as the alphabet. You have to balance intensity with backstory and exposition. It’s best to wave it together in a way that seems effortless but is, in fact, heavily orchestrated. That’s where outlines come into so much importance. If you don’t outline even the main points, you’re missing out on some vital elements of crafting a great story.
So, there you have it! The three hooks and how they work. You’ll be amazed at how implementing these simple strategies will improve the excitement and reception of your work. Grab the reader’s attention and hold it, and you’ll have a reader for life.
Find APRIL ADAMS online!