Monday, 9 April 2012

Hook, line and sinker

Of all the literary techniques I'm analysing right now, this one is proving rather enjoyable. 

Today's H in the A-Z Blogging Challenge is for Hook, sometimes known as the "Narrative Hook".

Some people refer to the hook as the first sentence of the first chapter. Others define it as the first paragraph, or even the whole first chapter. Many will say it's vital to end every chapter with a hook, to convince the reader to turn that page. 

Me? I don't care what it is, as long as it draws me into the story. In my own writing, I want hooks-a-plenty. I want my readers to feel perpetually hooked: Don't you dare put that book down, I'm not finished talking to you!

Anyway... *ahem*

I began to scrawl through possible examples of good hooks online, but turned to my very own bookcase for inspiration in the end. Funny how I always go to Google first, when I have a plethora of information right in front of me!

Here are some of my favourites:

This happened in 1932, when the state penitentiary was still at Cold Mountain. And the electric chair was there, too, of course.
Stephen King - The Two Dead Girls

The last thing I expected was for Alexander Taylor to answer his own door.
Michael Connelly - Lost Light

If a road could look welcoming, then Summer Street had both arms out and the kettle boiling.
Cathy Kelly - Past Secrets

"It must look like an accident. Can you arrange that?"
Sidney Sheldon - Memories of Midnight

"I'm going shopping in the village," George's mother said to George on Saturday morning. "So be a good boy and don't get up to mischief." This was a silly thing to say to a small boy at any time. It immediately made him wonder what sort of mischief he might get up to.
Roald Dahl - Georges Marvellous Medicine

Oh I could go on, but I shan't. Instead, I'd love it if you'd share your favourite hooks with me?

In the meantime, have a listen to today's music video. It is dedicated to the humble Harp. I love the sound of harps playing. Lets all bask in the tranquillity... sigh :)



Kyra Lennon said...

"It must look like an accident. Can you arrange that?"
Sidney Sheldon - Memories of Midnight - Well THAT got my attention!

I don't really have a favourite hook. I am sure there are loads that I've loved, but I can't think of a single one that really stuck in my mind.

Changes in the wind said...

Love the little cartoon and for me....I need a hook pretty early on in a book or it just doesn't keep my attention.

farawayeyes said...

'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.' A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. From memory so maybe not verbatim, but how could you not investigate.

Susan Oloier said...

I like the "It must look like and accident. Can you arrange that?" That is one awesome first line.
I like to be hooked by the first chapter, usually. If I'm not invested by then, I'm usually out.
Great post!

a.eye said...

The images was definitely a good hook for this post!

Thanks for sharing some of your favorite hooks.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Oh, those are some good ones. We had a class on this at a winter workshop in January. I'm struggling right now because an editor suggested I change my hook first line to something different, and I'm wondering if I should change it back. Ugh!

Here's what is used to be:
"Pirates never entered into it when Elle and I planned our dream cruise."

Clare said...

It must look like an accident. Can you arrange that?" - Sidney Sheldon - Memories of Midnight

That's an excellent hook!!

Two of my favourites are:

"It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts." - The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss.

"We should start back," Gerard urged as the woods began to grow dark around them. "The Wildlings are dead." - A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin.

It also makes me realise I need to work on my opening line.

Catherine Noble said...

@Kyra Lennon: That seems to be the favourite hook amongst the masses :D

@Changes in the wind: The cartoon is cute, isn't it? Haha! I'm exactly the same!

@farawayeyes: Excellent example! :)

@Susan Olojer: Likewise! If I'm not hooked by the end of the first chapter, I'm really quite irritated at having invested my time on it at all!

@a.eye: Thank you :) I hope you liked them!

@Donna K. Weaver: That sounds like an excellent hook, Donna! It definitely makes me want to find out what happened on their dream cruise. Did they say what they didn't like about it?

@Clare: Those hooks are fab, especially the first one. How curious! Good luck with your opening line haha :)

Colin Smith said...

Here's a great first line, from TORN by Erica O'Rourke:

"I woke up to the smell of Lysol and the end of the world."

I love that cartoon! Good article, Catherine. All the best with the rest of the A-to-Z Challenge! :)

Journaling Woman said...

I have ADD and it's important to not only hook me but keep me hooked in book.

I like your choices of hook lines.


Debra Harris-Johnson said...

I love your post and blood. If you can't hook'em you may as well not write. It's that important.

Stacy Jensen said...

Lots of fun hooks on H today! I actually had to break myself away from a new book (Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt) I received over the weekend in order to visit and socialize today. Relatives kept me away from reading. Today, I'm socializing online.

Catherine Noble said...

@Colin Smith: That's a brilliant first line, haha! Thank you, Colin :)

@Journalling Woman: Definitely! I'd be interested to know what your favourite books are?

@Debra Harris-Johnson: I like your attitude, you're absolutely right!

@Stacy Jensen: Hope you had a fun day socializing online, and enjoy your book when you get back to it!

Donna B. McNicol said...

Loving your A to Z posts but haven't commented got me hook, line and sinker with the cartoon. LOL!

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