Narrative Techniques Series: #14 Narrative Hook

Narrative Techniques Series: #14 Narrative Hook

Have you ever started reading a book that got you so hooked that you couldn’t stop?

In this case, it’s the Narrative Hook, a narrative technique that we explain today in this Narrative Technique Series article.

What is the Narrative Technique of the Hook?

The Narrative Technique of the Hook consists of the story opening that captures, or hooks, readers’ attention, so they will keep reading.

Usually, it’s the first sentence, the opening of a story, that “hooks” the reader’s attention, so they keep reading. It’s a similar technique to the one you find at the beginning of this article.

A good hook will draw readers in, usually by throwing them into the middle of the action or generating curiosity around an intriguing character, an unusual situation, or an important question. Capturing the interest and imagination of those reading within a few lines is critical and can mean the difference between publication and rejection.

Types of Narrative Hook

In a narration, there can be many hooks to create.

  • The title of the story: you can hook your reader even before the first sentence. The title is a mini hook which represents an opportunity to grab the readers’ attention.
  • The middle of the action: drag your readers into the action. A classic strategy is to start with an action event. In literary terms, beginning in the middle of a narrative recalls another similar technique, “in medias res“, largely explained in the Narrative Technique Series.
  • Make a surprising statement: start your story with a controversial, unexpected, disturbing statement. This will immediately ignite curiosity and encourage your audience to keep reading.
  • Avoid long descriptive passages: you don’t need to explain every little thing to the reader. On the contrary, leaving some questions unanswered will build suspense, and you can fill in the details later.

Most techniques for writing a compelling hook have one thing in common. They force the reader to ask questions. A good hook uses action, emotion, intriguing statements to get the reader to question motivations, backstory, and more. It creates a scene that causes the reader to ask questions and then seek answers by continuing to read.

Some examples of Hook

A very well-known example of the use of the Narrative Hook is Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis“.
The story begins with the protagonist waking up one morning to find himself transformed into a large insect. How is this possible? What must have happened to him? What will he do now?

These questions intrinsic to the story prompt the reader to continue reading to find the answers.

In the same way, also in cinema, the Narrative Hook is used.

The movie Star Wars, for example, begins with a space battle in which one large ship pursues another, blasting it with lasers. This battle immediately grabs the audience’s attention and makes them want to know what events led up to this moment.

He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man And The Sea.

Which narrative technique is right for your story?

Figuring out what narrative technique to use in a story is not easy. You have to have in mind the story, what tone you want to give to the narrative, the type of story, who the characters are, and focus on the details that always make a difference.

bibisco, thanks to its innovative novel planning software, will help you find the technique that best suits your needs and adapt it to the story.

Your reader will never be able to stop reading!

Narrative Techniques Series #14: Narrative Hook- bibisco's chapter section - bibisco blog | useful resources by your novel writing software
bibisco’s chapter section


The Narrative Hook is a real “hook” or rather a gimmick that hooks the reader’s attention.
It’s a technique that creates a story out of an unexplained situation and insinuates questions into the readers’ minds. These questions are what keep them curious and prompt them to continue reading.

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