What is a Narrative Hook? - Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Overview of Literary Modernism: Authors, Context, and Style

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 A Good Hook
  • 0:26 What Is a Narrative Hook?
  • 1:14 Strategies & Examples
  • 4:50 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Andrew Sedillo

Andrew Sedillo has taught Language Arts, Social Studies, and Technology at a middle school level. He currently holds a Bachelor's of Arts in Education, Master's of Arts Educational Learning Technology, and a Graduate certificate in Online Teaching and Learning.

This lesson will assist you in understanding components of narrative hooks found in literature and how they can be applied to your writing. Learn more about narrative hooks, and test your understanding through a quiz.

A Good Hook

Have you ever begun to read a book that failed to grab your attention, and you thought about putting it away after the first couple of sentences? In contrast, have you started reading a book and been immediately intrigued, unable to put it down? Why are some books so magnetic and others so boring? Part of the reason may be the narrative hook.

What Is a Narrative Hook?

Before authors begin writing they must ask themselves, 'Why is my book worth reading?' This question will assist them in understanding how to make their writing more appealing to their audience. Most authors know that many readers will decide whether or not they will continue reading their stories soon after picking them up, sometimes within the first minute or page.

Knowing this, all authors share a common literary device to keep readers interested in their stories. They use a narrative hook as a way to engage (or hook) readers to continue reading. This is a critical component to their writing. Authors are able to show their readers why their stories are worth reading by keeping them interested from the very beginning. The author can use this in a variety of ways; now we'll look at some strategies and examples that many authors typically use.

Strategies and Examples

Use curiosity to keep them wondering. Creating the feeling of curiosity in your readers is a great way to get them engaged. You can do this by beginning your story with a sentence or paragraph that makes the reader guess or question what is happening in the story. If done correctly, the reader may wonder, 'What does the opening sentence mean?' or 'What will happen at the end of this chapter?' This will keep the reader wanting more. Here's an example:

Jason knew that it was a bad idea before we did.

Start with a critical moment. Starting your story with an important moment will draw the reader in. It works similar to a movie preview. Movie previews typically show some of the most important parts of a movie without giving away the full story. This strategy makes viewers want to see the movie, and it works the same way with your writing. You're giving readers a preview of events of what's going to happen, and this will make them want to discover how they happened. Here's another example:

The sky was blue no more. I stood there with the rest of my community overshadowed by what appeared to be a large space ship unlike anything we'd ever seen before, hovering over all of us.

Create a visual for the reader. Simple description is best used for this strategy. You'll begin your story by describing a scene minimally. You place readers in the scene by using simple words that they know but that allow them to visualize it in their own unique way. This leaves room for the readers to use their creativity and feel more connected to the story. Here's an example:

Palm trees, ocean water, sand, and the smell of sunscreen always remind me of California.

Introduce an interesting character. Character development is important for any story. Introducing a character at the beginning of your story is a great way to draw your readers in. Readers are more inclined to read a story about a character they find interesting, especially if you use the main character. Like this:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account