I’m going to think about this question as pertaining to my writing journey because I think we all have plenty of Ah-ha! moments in our lives that it would be difficult to talk about just one in particular as being the biggest.
When I first sat down to get serious about my writing, I made all the mistakes every newbie makes: no understanding of point-of-view, lack of consistency in tense, white-walling, stilted dialogue, as-you-know situations, purposeless prose, rambling scenes, tangents galore, zero conflict/tension, inability to differentiate character voices, etc., etc.,
Some of these mistakes are naturally solved merely by the writing of the stories. For instance, you cringe when you read your dialogue out loud, you can’t imagine the world when reading back the scene, your head-hopping becomes confusing even to yourself. However, one problem in particular kept eluding me because I couldn’t understand it: Hooking.
A hook, like in fishing, is that barbed piece that claws into the reader and doesn’t let go. It makes sure the reader turns the page, scrolls down, doesn’t get distracted. And for a long time I thought ‘hook’ was synonymous with ‘interesting.’
You might be thinking, “but shouldn’t a hook be interesting? Wouldn’t I want the story I’m about to read be interesting? Why wouldn’t I keep reading if the story isn’t interesting?” And those are all the questions that I harbored that made me continue to not comprehend hooking for an obscene amount of time. Continue reading