A hook is the very beginning of a piece of writing that grabs the reader’s attention resulting in them wanting to read more. The following are several types of familiar hooks.
Big Potato Hooks: Jump into the middle of your answer and leave the reader wanting more.
Example 1: Suddenly, another of my Cherokee people feel to his death; a victim of starvation and brutality.
Example 2: No one knows who fired the first shot.
Snapshot Hooks: create a picture in the reader’s mind.
Example: Abraham Lincoln wasn’t the sort of man who could lose himself in a crowd. After all, he stood 6 foot 4 inches tall, and to top it off he wore a high silk hat.
Talking Hooks: Maybe you want to start with a line or two of dialogue.
Example: “Please sir, may I have a drink of water? The heat is smothering and the smell of the dead is sickening,” begged the captured slave from the belly of the ship.
Thinking Hooks: start with a thought inside a character or you.
Example: As I sat watching the inauguration, I wondered what Dr. Martin Luther King would be thinking if he were alive today.
Misleading Hooks: set up expectations, then surprise the reader.
Example 1: Until Columbus reached the New Work the people he called “Indians lived in peace and harmony with one another. Not so!
Example 2: These people of Colonial Days could not hold political office, could not vote, could not own property, and often could not chose their own spouse. However, they were often forced to work very hard inside and outside the home. These “people” I’m referring to were not slaves, they were Colonial women.
Set-Up Hooks: Set-up the action for the whole story in a few sentences.
Example: in the early days of America when men wore ruffles on their shirts and buckles on their shoes, when they rode horseback and swore allegiance to the King of England, there lived in Boston a man who care for none of these things. His name was Sam Adams. His clothes were shabby and plain, he refused to get on a horse, and he hated the King of England.