What are some effective ways to write a hook for a novel?
When I first started this inquiry, the questions I asked myself were “What interests me most about novels?” and “What makes good novels stand out?” After pondering these questions for a while, I realized that a good novel immediately hooks you in, draws your attention, and immerses you into the story. The very beginning of a novel, the hook, is the first thing you see when you open up a book, and it is the first thing you judge when you start to read. If you don’t like the hook, or if it isn’t captivating enough, chances are you aren’t going to like the rest of the story. I decided to research different techniques and styles for writing hooks, but at the beginning of my inquiry, I was worried my question was too narrow. I had no idea how much information I would end up finding. For this reason, my inquiry question stayed the same. I set out with the intention of broadening it as I went along, but it ended up being perfect. I had enough information to properly answer the question, but not so much that it became overwhelming.
During this project, I have expanded on so many important, relevant skills, such as time management, organization, and research skills. We had a timeline set in stone from day one, and I had a schedule that I wanted to stick to as best as possible, so I knew I would have to work to stay on top of things. Luckily, I was able to manage my time properly, something I have definitely struggled with in the past (and still struggle with to this day). I also had to make sure that I knew the deadlines for each of the smaller assignments, such as the blog posts or the rubrics, so that I didn’t accidentally turn something in late. Luckily, thank to my schedule which I checked every day, I didn’t miss anything and completed all of the assignments on time. As for the research skills, I found that it was challenging to research a topic such as hook writing since the styles can vary ever so slightly from person to person. Another impediment was the fact that personal preference was a huge factor in which styles were considered the best, and which ones were considered overused. I found multiple websites written by authors that had contradicting statements about certain styles simply because of personal preference. Looking back, it would have been useful if I had done less research and more analyzing of novels so that I could decide for myself which styles were more effective. All of the above skills that I expanded on are extremely helpful to me, and can be directly applied to most of my other school courses and extra curricular activities.
If I were to list all of the possibilities of hook writing styles, it would take up hundreds of pages. To answer my inquiry question, I took the most common forms of hook writing and wrote some examples myself. The styles I used include: introducing a problem, foreshadowing, interesting character, state a fact, unusual set up, and ask a question. These were some of the most common styles I came across during my research and while analyzing certain novels. For example, in the novel I read for my independent study, The Handmaids Tale, the hook is an unusual set up. The first line of the story reads, “We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.” This hook causes the reader to ask questions, to which they want the answers. This tactic is common among authors, as it forces the reader to continue reading the novel in order to find out why something is happening.
I learned a lot about each of the different styles of writing listed above, and I wrote an example hook for each style about a man named Ryan who was on a hike through the forest with some friends. Each hook showcases the unique styles authors take on to captivate the reader and create an interesting story. One of the core competencies I chose is ‘transform ideas and information to create original texts’. I believe that I fully achieved this, and exceeded expectations by writing many hooks based on the information I gathered from my research and from analyzing novels. My final presentation clearly relates to all three of my chosen competencies, and proves that I have learned a lot about different hook writing techniques.
A new question that popped up while I was doing research is “How do you write a hook for a novel in a series where the previous novel ended on a cliffhanger?” I wanted to research this further, but I decided that this question would not end up advancing my research in any way. I am interested in looking into this style more in the future, perhaps for another similar inquiry project or simply on my own.
This resource was one of the first ones I looked at, and it was very informative. It asks questions such as ‘who are you writing for?’ and ‘what is important to your audience?’ which I found very helpful.
10 Ways To Hook Your Reader (and Reel Them in for Good)
This resource was very useful in terms of gathering information. It had ten different techniques, each with an example, which I found helpful.
6 Ways to Hook Your Readers from the Very First Line
This resource gave me an interesting perspective, which was things not to do. Instead of focusing on what styles to write, or what techniques to use, this resource also gave some information on what was overused or unnecessary.
How to write a hook: 8 tips to lure in readers
This resource was extremely helpful in the sense that it not only gave examples for each style, but also books which used them. This gave me a lot of insight on what books to look for when analyzing novels, which helped me a lot.
How to Write a Good Hook & Start Your Novel with a Bang!
This resource was actually the one that gave me the idea to search up ‘hooks for novels in a series in which the previous novel ended on a cliffhanger’. It is a very helpful link that also happened to give me a cool question for if I want to expand on my learning in the future.