In writing, how is a hook different than a portal? Or is it different.
If a portal is an opening, an entrance, isn’t a hook also that? Not exactly.
A hook is that particular line written with the purpose of snagging a reader…to convince the reader that they want to read further. When a book cover is designed, it is designed with this in mind–to invite the reader to open the book and read more; and then to buy the book. Preferably, the writer places the hook in the opening paragraph, typically it’s the opening line. That’s a big responsibility for one line!
How do you browse when you’re looking to buy a book? You want something new to read. You choose the genre–fiction or nonfiction–that whittles it down. Let’s say you choose fiction. Of course, within fiction there are many categories. If you choose sci fi fantasy, you’ve narrowed your choice further. Then you might choose a favorite author in this field. Or you might randomly pick up books, read the cover (has it won any awards), you might read the endorsements or testimonials on the first few pages.
Or, you might open to the middle of the book, randomly reading whatever is on page 103… Then again, you might read the first sentence of the first paragraph that begins the story.
What hooks you when you are looking for a book? Those same things are hooks for others.
A fun thing to do with fellow writers (or solo) is to write sentences that could act as hooks…
Here are a few of mine:
- The money had run out.
- Her voice became white sound to him.
- His hands clenched the picket sign, “Stop experimentation on animals.”
- Staring at her, he overflowed his coffee cup.
- He came out of the restroom, gave a nod and fell to his knees.
- The snow report warned of avalanche danger.
Any one of these could be a hook for a reader. And, it is also a portal for the writer to begin to tell more of the story.