Your agreement: Hooking the audience for the whole story

Beginning writers often misinterpret the call for a beginning “hook.” The story device that pulls the audience immediately into the story. But the real draw is an agreement with the reader/audience that you are going to tell a certain kind of story and stick to that genre. It doesn’t matter if it is a traditional cozy mystery, an action/adventure, a romantic comedy, an historical drama, police procedural, or family drama. You make a covenant with the audience and you stand by it.

 

A young Arab enters prison and in his naiveté, he needs protection, all he has to do is kill someone…

The full moon shines through wind whipped branches on a dark figure prowling near the boathouse/senior dance club/you name it British hobby horse…

A plastic surgeon comes to visit a family in a beach town ostensibly for a vacation but it is really to discuss how his skills apply to the teenage child of the couple…

A young girl and her pregnant mother arrive at the home of the mother’s paramour during a time of civil war. She lives in a world where magic and the vicious real world collide…

 

I’m in.

 

And that is just where you want your reader/audience. Exploding cars/helicopters, squat teams rushing a house, a conversation at a table outside a café to show how with it, action driven, or witty you are as a writer…I’m not in and neither is your audience.

 

Start with an intriguing premise, draw the audience in, play out the tension and conflicts. Keep your agreement with your audience.

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