Writing Effective “Hooks”

The introduction to most persuasive forms of writing has a “hook” to catch the reader’s attention.  Some common “hooks” include:

  1. Opening with vivid imagery or an unusual detail: The great wall of China snakes like a stern dragon through the opening shots of Mulan, a strange and beguiling new breed of Disney animated feature.  (Richard Corliss, Time Magazine)
  2. Opening with a strong statement: Cigarettes are the number one cause of lung cancer death in the world!
  3. Opening with a quotation: Elbert Hubbard once said, “Truth is stronger than fiction.”
  4. Opening with an anecdote: (An anecdote is a very short personal story used to provide an amusing opening) Whenever I asked my mom if I could drive the car to the store, she’d tell me, “when pigs can fly.” Well, the day that my mom had to work late and get to my brother’s house in Kona must have been the day that pigs could fly. Even though I was 14, she asked me to drive her to Kona.
  5. Opening with a statistic or fact: According to the American Heart Association, half of the women in America will develop some sort of heart disease. That means that for every girl in the classroom right now, half of them will develop high blood pressure, will suffer a heart attack, or will suffer a stroke.
  6. Opening with a question: Have you ever considered how many hours the average teenager spends on Facebook?
  7. Opening with an  exaggeration or outrageous statement: The whole world watched as the Waipio little league team won the World Series championship.

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