Writing Raven


Hooked on Words – Crafting Irresistible Openings

This year, Writing Raven Author Solutions is breaking down the 15 beats of writing a bestselling novel based on the three-act structure for you. Today, we begin at the beginning – your opening hook.

When a threatening message appeared on her lucky Smith Corona that morning – the vintage machine handed down from her bestselling mother – Amelia realized that the characters in her mind weren’t the only ones telling a story – someone at the writing retreat had a plot of their own.

black and red typewriter on table

Photo by Johnny Briggs on Unsplash

A well-crafted hook can take various forms, including a compelling statement, a thought-provoking question, a vivid description, or an introduction to a mystery.

The goal of your hook is to entice your reader to keep reading. Make them eager to turn the next page. A hook is crucial and may be the only chance you get at making a sale.

The opening sets the tone for the story and establishes a connection between the reader and the unfolding events in the coming chapters. A good one encourages them to invest time in discovering what happens next.

Creating strong hooks is an essential skill for every writer to ensure that their audience is captivated from the very beginning.

Here are three tips to level up your book’s opening and grab your reader right from the start:

Create Intrigue or Mystery – Start your novel with a line that raises questions or introduces an element of surprise and suspense.

Example: The rundown house at the end of the street held a secret no one had dared to uncover…until the night ten-year-old Justin went missing.

Invoke Strong Emotions – Fire up your readers’ emotions, whether it’s fear, excitement, or nostalgia. Making your readers feel what your character feels instantly engages them and makes them invested in what’s about to happen.

Example: The icy wind carried memories of Jack’s long-lost love and the one question he’d never answered—why had she left him on that harrowing Christmas Eve?

Set the Tone – Establish the tone and create atmosphere with vivid descriptions and a unique setting.

ExampleBeneath the flickering streetlights of her forgotten town, Kristen watched shadows dancing to the haunting melody of an ancient piano.

An effective opening line not only captures your reader’s attention but also sets the stage for the entire novel.

Practice different openings until you find one that works for your voice, genre, and theme.

Play with language, create a sense of anticipation, and leave your readers craving more.


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May your day be filled with effective hooks,

The Writing Ravens

Grab your copy of Writing Raven’s Breaking Down the Beats Worksheet here: http://writing-raven.com/product/breaking-down-the-beats-writing-exercise