How do you write a hook?
The opening line of your story is one of the most important - this is what makes the reader decide whether or not they’re going to carry on reading. Better make it a good one.
Start with something shocking
Begin your story by making the reader do a double take. Something that will make them audibly go “wait, what?” This gets your reader interested in your story as they know this is no ordinary novel. Here are some examples:
- It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —George Orwell, 1984
- It was the day my grandmother exploded. —Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road
- I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. —Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle
- A screaming comes across the sky. —Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
Start with something vague, but interesting
Obviously, you’re not going to give the story away within the first couple of lines. This is your opportunity to invite the reader into the world of madness you’ve created in your head. Your chance to whisper “like the sound of this? read more… mwhaha.” Examples:
- This is the saddest story I have ever heard. —Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier
- Mother died today. —Albert Camus, The Stranger
- All this happened, more or less. —Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
- There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. —C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Start with something character revealing
Your story is going to be narrated or told from the perspective of your main character. What better way to get our first impression from the very first line?
- Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. —Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
- I am a sick man … I am a spiteful man. —Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground
- For a long time, I went to bed early. —Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way
- In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. —F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby