Why is the hook so important to your story?

Hi everyone,

Richard here from Beyond The Vale Publishing here to share some more advice about our writing competition. If you would like your school to be involved, register here. It’s free and the winning entries will have their stories published!

A big thank you to Yvette from Framesby High School in the Eastern Cape and Madhava from Lupenyo Primary School in Limpopo for entering the competition.


Last week I spoke about tips to help get you started, this week let’s look at that all-important first line.

The first line is often referred to as the hook. It’s what you can use to hook your reader into the story. You need to engage with your reader and make them interested. So how do you write a great hook?

  • One way is to start in the middle of some action. With no idea who your characters are, the reader will be guessing and hopefully wondering why your character is in the middle of the action.
  • Leave your reader with a question – for example, the first line of Harry Potter goes Mr and Mrs Durlsey, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal… Not only does this set up the book with two characters it also makes the reader wonder they might not be ordinary.
  • Don’t start with a long description of a scene or a character, those descriptions can be brought in gradually later.
  • Don’t start with lots of dialogue. The reader will not know who the characters are which will be frustrating.
  • Stay away from overused sentences, such as “Once upon a time” or “in a galaxy far far away”

Watch my weekly blog and newsletters in the coming weeks for more advise.

If you have any questions, you can contact me here.

Good luck to everyone who entets the competition. Remember the theme is creativity, use your imaginations to create anything you want.