Friday, March 1, 2013

Great Hooks!

I love to watch and read suspense. One of the reasons is that when you come across a good one, you can't put the darned book down even when its two in the morning and you're dead tired and you KNOW you're going to regret it, turn the page.

Great writers understand the power of a hook. Not only at the beginning of a book; that initial pull into the story that cements you with the character's fate...

I'm talking about the ones at the end of each chapter. Those last lines that make you suck in your breath and blink a few times as you decidedly ignore the clock and keep reading.

Some of my favorite chapter endings are usually a beat before the stakes ratchet up...
  • The hero mid-leap across a precipice.
  • An ominous prediction before entering a new scene.
  • A secret revealed or a mystery set in motion.
  • It can even be the shift of allegiance in the mind of a character
Something that vaults us into the next scene, the next scenario...a peek or teaser that beckons us and leaves us wanting to know what happens next?

Writers Write had a helpful photo up the other day. It was a list of some great hooks to consider using in your own work. Posted by Amanda Patterson on her Tumbler...

I hope you find it helpful. What are some of your favorite hooks and cliff-hangers? Are there any that just irritate you? Until next time...Go Write!


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I try to vary my hooks between emotional and action.

Eric W. Trant said...

Hooks, eh. I like hooks. My thought is that the first paragraph should hook, and then the next, and so on.

There are some "rules" in writing that in some way contradict the hook. One of them is that you should not introduce a new character beyond 1/3 or 1/2 of the way into your book.

BUT, I find it very hook-worthy to swap up POV, or introduce a new character, when things start to lag. I treat the middle of the book the same as I treat the beginning and the end and everything in-between. HOOK!

For instance, the latest chapter in my current working draft ends like this:

In the firelight, Moore glimpsed a face framed in shadow, peering out from the woods behind the cabin. It winced as the flames took hold, and when she blinked and looked again, the only evidence that someone had been there was the waving of a limb from his passing.

And the next chapter segues into that character's POV, directly, picking up the action like a baton between chapters, no backflash, no jump forward, but right at the point of action.

Anyway, there it is. Pose a little question, answer it quickly, and follow up with more questions and answers.

- Eric

Kittie Howard said...

Hi, Raquel! Just stopping by to wish you a Happy Easter.

I try to vary my hooks as well, all easier said than done.

A few months ago, I had the same spam problem you've got. Bloggers suggested I return to setting and turn off the button to comment anonymously and to click open where comments left four days after I posted had to have approval. This worked!