“We old-timers have a good amount of information you young people have no clue about. We know how to survive!” As we entered the house, he stopped to face us. “That is, if we’re left to do it. People keep trying to kill us, though. Don’t they, Martha?”
“They do,” said a voice to our left. And there, on her feet in a little side room stood “Martha,” the littlest old lady you can imagine. She had on a nightgown and robe, and an old-fashioned sleeping cap, from which white curls stuck out on the sides. She would have been cute, like anyone’s grandma–except she glowered in our direction and held a shotgun, pointed right at us. [END SCENE]
|A hook is an upside-down question mark.|
An effective hook begs the question: What happens next?
Remember: A hook is an upside down question mark. Leave the reader with a question they must know the answer to–and you’ve hooked ’em.
The alarm wailed at us and we jumped to our feet. “Get those kids inside and downstairs!” Mrs. Martin cried, hurrying ahead of me. I soon passed her, my feet flying. No way was I gonna let my brothers or any of the kids face another hostage situation! I ran to the yard and looked frantically around. The children were nowhere in sight. [END SCENE]
How to Create A Hook
If writing hooks is new for you, here’s a tip: When people hear a story they naturally want to hear the end. For a smaller story you’ve got going (within the greater story of the novel) simply cut off the end–save it for the next chapter. You’ve just created suspense, even if it’s mild suspense. If you can stop the action at a pivotal point you’ve created a hook. Your hook doesn’t require a life-or-death situation, but the greater the stakes involved, the more the reader will need to see what’s next.
Does it Work?
Judge for yourself: I quickly grabbed a few lines from Amazon reviews for PULSE, the book that precedes RESILIENCE in the PULSE EFFEX series.
“Grips the reader from the first chapter and has you begging for the end.”
“A page turner from the very beginning.”
“Never a dull moment when reading (Linore Burkard’s) stories!”
“Had trouble putting it down. I kept reading, wanting to know what happened next.”
“Such an exciting story…I absolutely loved this book! I kept reading it and reading and reading. I just couldn’t put it down.”
“Sizzles with tension.”
Try and plant a hook at the end of the chapter you’re working on. Keep doing so, and like those television serials we love to watch, your hooks will keep the story from sagging, holding it up even throughout the notoriously difficult middle section. Who knows? You may even discover that thereby hangs your tale!
Linore Rose Burkard writes historical romance and, as L.R.Burkard, YA/Suspense. Linore teaches workshops for
writers, is a mother of five, and still
homeschools her youngest daughter—preferably with coffee in one hand and an iPad in the other. Her newest novel, RESILIENCE, will release on April 29th.