Seven Spring Hooks

by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton 


            Spring is so close we can almost taste it!

 The thing I love about spring is that after so many gray days the sun finally warms the earth, and all the world is made anew.

  Spring also seems to be a time when new ideas flood my mind. Ideas are great, but everyone knows it is how you execute that idea that makes a story.  Good stories begin with a great hook. A hook grabs your reader and gets them to sit down and read. But how do you do that?

  I've pulled together seven types of opening sentences that are guaranteed to make the reader want to keep reading.



1.      Start with an exclamation!

 “Hi! I'm the bus driver. Listen, I've got to leave for a little while, so can you watch things for me until I get back? Thanks. Oh, and remember: Don't let the Pigeon drive the bus!”

                                     ~DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS! By Mo Willems


2.      Start with a question.

 “Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see? I see a ...”



 3.      Start with a statement.

 “Grandma Ronnie isn't home anymore.”

    ~A YOUNG MAN'S DANCE by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton


4.      Start by showing the setting.

 “In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.”

                         ~ MADELINE, by Ludwig Bemelmans


5.      Start with Onomatopoeia.

 “Hieronymus Bets has unusual pets. Slurp the sugapotomus is his slimiest pet.” 

                          ~HIERONYMUS BETS AND HIS UNUSUAL PETS, by M.P. Robertson


6.      Start with a repeat refrain.

“Before John was a jazz giant, he heard hambones knocking on grandma's pots, Daddy strumming the ukulele, and Mama cranking the phonograph.

   Before John was a jazz giant, he heard steam engines whistling past...”

  ~BEFORE JOHN WAS A JAZZ GIANT, by Carol Boston Weatherford


7.      Start with the main character.

 “Clementine waited until her work in the Big House was done and the twinkle of stars filled the night sky above the Cane River. She was ready to paint.”



         Spend some time in the library reading first lines in picture books to make your own list of great ways to hook a reader, then spring into a new season of writing by hooking your reader with a great opening sentence.