Hook the Reader – Writing Narratives

At the beginning of the story, we want to hook the reader’s interest immediately. We want to entice them into the fictional world we’ve created. Now, one way to do this is by beginning with conflict or intrigue – something that’ll make the reader expect a dramatic unfolding. Raise a question for the reader they’ll want answered. Do it as early as the first paragraph. For example, “He couldn’t drive on or turn back. “Floodwaters covered the road in both directions. “Within a matter of minutes, his life would be changed forever.” Great stories draw us in by focusing on issues of human need. The need to be loved, to be respected, to have control over one’s life, to overcome hardships and painful emotional experiences. The need to find meaning. These universal themes can be brought to life in original stories. By engaging the reader on an emotional level, you make them care and want to know what happens next. The action in the story might be great but it still needs an emotional angle to sustain interest from the audience. Avoid starting a story with long, descriptive passages. Get straight into the drama. Introduce a dilemma or goal for the protagonist. Once you’ve got the reader engaged, then you can illuminate the characters and their fictional world. Using a character you’ve already created, write a paragraph about a problem or need they must resolve. Make it as dramatic as possible and with an emotional edge. Create expectation and curiosity in the reader. It should connect in with the central theme of your story. If you’re not sure what your central theme is, take time to work it out. If you don’t know what your story’s about, neither will the reader. The hook at the beginning should be connected to the ending. This helps to frame the story. The questions posed are answered.

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