This is part two of “Writing Hooks,” based on the workshop notes by Bunny Hansen, a Writers in the Grove member. If you haven’t read part one, please do so as it contains many notes and resources for understanding more about the writing of opening hooks.
Hooks can be found anywhere in the telling or a story. These hooks keep the reader reading and carry them through from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph, page turning page, and pulling the reader through the book, chapter after chapter.
An example of a foreshadowing (okay, blatant foreshadowing) is found in the new book, “The Martian,” by Andy Weir, a statement that not only keeps the reader reading, but they now know what is coming, and based upon what has come so far in the book, they know it is going to be a fun ride.
Everything went great right up to the explosion.
The satirical nature of Weir’s writing and the strength of his first person character is found throughout the book, excellent examples of character-driven hooks, and readers keep reading for those precious ironic gems such as this much quoted passage at the midpoint of the book.
I need to ask myself, ‘What would an Apollo astronaut do?’ He’d drink three whiskey sours, drive his Corvette to the launchpad, then fly to the moon in a command module smaller than my Rover. Man those guys were cool.
And this prime example of voice, style, and character after using his own body waste to start a garden of potatoes:
They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially ‘colonised’ it. So technically, I colonised Mars.
In your face, Neil Armstrong!
In the trailer for the movie from the book, examine the use of hooks that not only ask questions but keep the viewer watching.
An example of foreshadowing is found in this excerpt from “To Kill a Mocking Bird” by Harper Lee in the early section of the story:
I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
The lawyer, Atticus Finch, tells his children that it is better to be noble than take arms, proving it when he takes a case sure to fail by defending Boo Radley because it is the right thing to do. The reader easily sees into the heart of the character and feels compassion for him. You feel his courage and determination, a warrior with the law as his only weapon, and you keep reading on. (more…)