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Hook Your Readers!

Introduces hooks for writing and gives time to work on them in a group setting before writing our stories
by

Cynthia Himes

on 7 October 2015

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Transcript of Hook Your Readers!

Hook em' Hornets
Getting Your Reader's Attention
Snapshot Hook
Set Up Hook
Action Hook
This lead gets the reader quickly involved in the story by starting with an exciting event or some kind of action. (scary or non-scary)
This hook begins with the author
"painting a picture" for the reader.
This hook sets up the action for the entire story in just a few sentences
The footsteps seemed to grow closer. My heart was beating wildly, and I thought it would burst out of my chest. Curled up into a ball, I prayed that the footsteps would disappear. That what I had been hearing had been my imagination. And then, the lights cut out. I was surrounded by darkness. The footsteps grew closer. The door creaked open...
When I look out my window, I see a brick wall. There is trash in the courtyard and a smashed bottle that looks like fallen stars. A broken-down bicycle is strewn among ripped open trash bags...the contents spilling over, as if they vomited on the concrete ground. Sharp barbed wire outlines the entire area, daring people to try to enter...or exit for that matter. I stared down at my hands. They were cut-up and shaking. Shaking, always shaking.
None of this would have happened if it wasn't for Forest. Forest is not a thicket of trees. Forest is a boy. A sick boy. A boy sneezing and coughing all over my desk, and pencils. I caught Forest's cold and had to stay home from school on Tuesday. Tuesday is 'Gymnastics Day' at Webster School. Follow my advice: Never get sick on Gymnastics Day. Never.
Writing Strong Hooks
Hook In Your Audience
Talking Hook


"Where's Papa going with that ax?"
said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.
"Out to the hoghouse," replied Mrs. Arable. "Some pigs were born last night."
"I don't see why he needs an ax," continued Fern who was eight.
~ from Charlotte's Web
This hook is usually a line or two of dialogue.
So they'll want to read MORE!
Question To Ponder...
Flashback...
A Trip Down Memory Lane
I can remember when walking into my house afterschool meant cookies baking in the oven. It meant mom standing at the door with a smile on her face. Her apron would have flour on it because of a dozen cakes she had just baked for our neighbors. When I'd fall into her arms, she'd smell like sugar and flowery perfume, and I'd forget all my troubles. Then I remember the moment that it all disappeared...the smell of cookies, my mother's smile, and forgetting my troubles. It was the moment the letter came. The white envelope sitting on the kitchen table. The familiar cursive
writing on the front that simply read "Jack..." I remember smiling and thinking it was a scavenger hunt...a game she used to like to
play with me. The house was silent, so silent. The only sound
I heard was the tearing sound when I opened the envelope.
And the gasping sound that came out of me when I read th words.
Have you ever had one of those days where everything, absolutely everything went wrong? Where you wished you never left the house? A day when you felt as if everything would be better if you could just disappear? A day where you felt like it was you against the world? Where you questioned who your friends were, and whether anyone really even knew you?



You've Got Questions?
In the TALKING HOOK, it's all about the DIALOGUE-the conversation the reader gets to witness. The conversation should make it so the reader WANTS to keep reading!
Reader: OH NO! What is he doing with
the ax? Will he kill the pigs? I need to read more! I have to know
if the poor pigs will live or die!! This is terrible.
The conversation shouldn't give it all away!
Say just enough to HOOK your reader!
"Well, I come from a family with a lot of dead people," Joey shared.
Amy nodded. "Yes, me too. A lot of people in my family have died. Last year, my grandmother died. Two summers before that, my great-grandpa died."
Joey shook his head, "Yeah, but my dead people still live with me." Amy was confused, "Huh? How is that possible? What does that mean?" Joey shuddered, "It doesn't matter. You wouldn't understand, and I'm not supposed to talk about it." Amy's eyes were wide open, "You're beginning to scare me, Joey." Joey looked into her eyes, "Amy, I don't think you know what it means to be afraid...really afraid."
Did that conversation leave you with questions? Do you want to know what Joey means? Does he live with dead people? Are they propped up and sitting around his house? Or are they somehow ALIVE? And what does Joey mean about really being afraid!??!
With your group, do your best to write a TALKING HOOK. Your goal is to create dialogue that leaves your reader wanting more, more, more! You will share your talking hook with the class. We'll see how many people you hook!
You, the reader, were thrown right
into the action with the character.
Did you feel as if you were there? Did you hear the footsteps? Could you see the character curled up?

When you start with an action hook, you pull the reader right in. The action is like a big magnet. The reader can't help but be pulled into your story! But just like the talking hook, you can't give
up all the details. Just get 'em hooked!
As you read the words, could you "see" the images in your mind? A good writer will write so descriptively that you will feel as if you are there...seeing it!
The writer didn't give you all the information. You still had unanswered questions that you wanted to find the answer to. So you'd keep reading! And then, the writer did his/her job. You were hooked.
In a moment, it will be your turn to provide the snapshot to hook your reader! You must first, with your group,decide what your setting will be. Once you have that, you're ready to write a great snapshot hook!
Let's see how many of your classmates you hook!


And so, in this hook, you pretty much get the gist of the story. There's a boy named Forest, who seems to be health-challenged. He gets another student sick, and this student has to stay home from school on Tuesday. Apparently this is a day you do not want to be absent on...Gymnastics Day!


And the reader now knows what's going on and has to wonder...
A. What's up with this Forest kid?
B. Why is Gymnastic's Day something you don't want to miss?
C. Is Gymnastic's Day a good or bad thing?
D. What sort of problems did the absence cause for the character that caught Forest's cold?
The Set-Up is actually one of the more difficult hooks to write. You don't want to put yourself in a sticky situation. Make sure you:
a. Give enough information so the reader has the basic idea of what's going on and what the story will be about
b. Don't give too much informaton! If you do this, why would the reader need to read on?
c. Provide the type of information that leads readers wanting to know more!
It's your turn now! Try to write a good Set-Up hook. Will you be successful? Remember, this is the hardest one!
A flashback hook begins by taking the reader back in time. The reader begins with the character sharing a memory. It can be any type of memory...a great one, or not-so-great. It can be one memory or a combination of them.


So what was in the envelope? What did
the letter say? Why did he gasp? And where was his mother?

Do you want to know what the letter said? Do you have more questions?


This is one of the quickest
hooks because it really is a question for the reader. The question asked will give the reader a sort-of-idea what the story is about, but not much. It's all about involving the reader. The reader will then want to know where the story is going, and should choose to read more. If the writer CONNECTS with the reader, the reader will feel as if he/she can relate to the story, and will read more!
Your turn! Create a Question
to Ponder hook that will leave your reader interested in reading more!

Will you hook your classmates? Will they want to turn the page in the book you've begun? Or will they want to put the book down and search out a better one?
So which of the hooks do you like the best?
TALKING
ACTION
SNAPSHOT
SET UP
FLASHBACK
QUESTION TO PONDER

Use these hooks in your writing! Test them out to find which one you like the best!

This marks the end of this prezi and the beginning of your time to work on creating your hook to your own narrative.
Full transcript