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- I lost my arm on my last trip home. –– Octavia Butler, Kindred.
- A screaming comes across the sky. –– Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow.
- It began the usual way, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel. –– Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad.
- Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. –– George Eliot, Middlemarch.
Apr 16, 2019 · Hook is a way by which an author captures the reader’s mind and keeps them as asking for more. This is the best approach for any writers/authors to grab the readers’ attention. Remember the hook needs to match with your story theme. Hooks can be in a form of sentence or a paragraph.
- Ann Garvin
- Begin at a pivotal moment. When I was twelve my family moved from one-hour outside of New York City to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and one-hour away from a JC-Penny’s.
- Add an unusual situation. I coped by being careful and good and funny which was like an invisibility cloak in high school but as much as I tried to blend in, my older brother Ray stood out in the most threatening way possible for a good girl and that was as a bad boy.
- Add intriguing characters. My father was and is best described as an intense, idealist with a steel girder of a work ethic and a charm that wears thin under the gun of his laser focused attentions.
- Conflict. Outside the restaurant, just before swinging the door wide and walking inside my Dad would stop us and say, “Now remember everybody, this is for Mom.
- Make your readers wonder. Put a question in your readers’ minds. What do those first lines mean? What’s going to happen? Make them wonder, and you’ll keep them reading.
- Begin at a pivotal moment. By starting at an important moment in the story, your reader is more likely to want to continue so he or she can discover what will happen next.
- Create an interesting picture. Description is good when it encourages people to paint a picture in their minds. Often, simple is best so it’s the reader who imagines a scene, instead of simply being told by the author.
- Introduce an intriguing character. The promise of reading more about a character you find intriguing will, no doubt, draw you into a story’s narrative.
- Character Description Examples: How to Hook The Reader.
- Amateur vs. Pro Character Description Examples.
- Amateur Character Description Example #1.
- Professional Character Description Example #2.
- Amateur Character Description Example#3.
- Professional Character Description Example #4.
- Amateur Character Description Example #5.
- Professional Character Description Example #6.
- Character Description Examples That Break “The rules.”
- Mundane Actions in The Character Description.
In this post, we’re going to show you how to get the reader to emotionally connect with your characters—particularly your protagonist—by comparingamateur and pro character descriptionexamples. Far too often aspiring writers’ character descriptions involve mundane activities, unrelated to who they’re introducing. Often this is accompanied by a list of personality traits and/or physical attributes, like so: These character description examples aren’t bad, but they’re not great either. But why not? Take a moment to consider just how much you know about each of these protagonists from their character description examples. •Do you get a sense of Caitlyn’s personality? •Do you have any idea what Roger’s fundamental character flaw is? •Do you get a feeling for who each of these characters are deep down? Not really. In fact, it’s probably pretty hard to say you know anythingabout who these characters really are when we first meet them. We’re going to do this is by using “before and after” s...
Here’s a quick character description template of what makes these ones that much better and really hook the reader: • Interesting Action. The pro character description examples show them in action. It’s just more interesting to be introduced to a character doing something active—preferably something interesting or unusual—rather than something we all do every day. • Show Don’t Tell. The pro descriptions utilize the “show don’t tell” principle. The writers show the reader who each character is as a person through their actions, rather than simply tell them. • The Flaw. They show us a moment that perfectly sums up where each character is at in this particular stage in life. These character description examples show us their flaw in action: their “want” rather than “need.” The bad behavior that’s keeping them down at the start of the film. Overall, you want to show the reader the heart of each characterright off the bat when we first meet them. This usually means showing ustheir flawin...
Like many character description examples from spec screenplays, this one’s perfectly serviceable. It puts an image in our mind of a young guy who’s probably single. He’s engaged in an action of sorts—eating a TV dinner—and the car’s arrival adds some interest to the scene. But you don’t want to write a “serviceable” character description. You want to blow the reader awaywith the quality of your writing, right?
Here’s how Dan Gilroy introduces the same character in Nightcrawler: Ignore the somewhat idiosyncratic formatting for a moment and just focus on how this character description kicks ass. Focus on how much more you nowknow and feelabout Lou than in the first example. But how does Gilroy achieve this? He could have chosen to introduce Lou scouring CraigsList for a job. Or asking a scrap yard manager if he has any vacancies. While either of these would have told us more about Lou than in Example #1 and made him more active than sitting watching TV, they wouldn’t have been particularlyunusual or revealing actions. Showing him stealing fencing at night, on the other hand, tells us everything we need to know. Our interest is immediately piqued. Who is this weird guy? What’s he doing? Why is he doing it? Most importantly, Gilroy’s character description shows us Lou’s many flaws in action. He’s in the middle of a theft and is about to beat up an interfering security guard. He’s “pure primal...
This character description is clear and succinct and gives us a good idea of what we’re seeing here: two friends having a great time catching up over lunch. We get the feeling Annie is the protagonist as her name comes first and includes her surname. But what else do we learn about her from this character description? Not much. We learn nothing about what her personality’s like, where’s she at in life, or what her flaw is.
Here’s how Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig introduce the same protagonist in Bridesmaids. This is the character description we get after some brief Off-Screen dialogue that sets up the fact this is just a casual fling. (From Ted’s perspective at least.) This character description is tight and sparse—all we get is Annie’s age. But that’s okay because what she’s doing here is so much more important: She’s showing us her flaw in action: trying to get together with a guy who has zero romantic interest in her. One of the key reasons why studio script readers pass on spec screenplays is a lack of empathyfor the characters. This is often because the writer hasn’t fully communicated who the characters really are and what their flaws are right off the bat. Readers empathize with flaws: the characters (and our) relatable problems that they want to see solved by the movie’s end. It should be pretty clear that out of these two character description examples it’s Example #4 that better gives you a...
Let’s move on to an example from a recently nominated best-adapted screenplay. It’s true that Jack’s active here, but how engaging is it? And how much do we learn about him? We learn that he’s a musician in a hotel room, which could suggest he’s on tour and semi or very successful. We learn that he likes gin, which could suggest he has a drinking problem, but neither of these is stated explicitly.
Here’s the same character introduction from A Star Is Bornby Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper and Will Fetters. Now we’rehit in the gutwith a character description that shows rather than tells us so much more about him. Jack is not just involved in an action here that vaguely tells us something about who he is. He’s doing something that shows us explicitlywho he is and what his problem is. He famous enough to draw a large crowd and have roadies. He pops pills before going on stage, drinks deeply from a bottle of gin—some of it “spilling down his beard…” Note how much more interesting and exciting Example #6 is compared to Example #5. And how it’s now so much clearer that Jack’s a famous musician with a drink and drugs problem. It’s 100 times more engaging, revealing and visualin every possible way.
Of course, not all good character descriptions in professional screenplays abide bythe “rules”we’ve discussed so far. •Sometimes in professional screenplays we’re introduced to characters involved in the most mundane activities imaginable. •Sometimes when writing character descriptions, pro writers don’t give any indication of a flaw. •Sometimes great character descriptions are so sparse we learn nothing at all about what they look like. •Sometimes professional screenwriters describe their characters as “handsome” or “a natural beauty.” Here are a few more character description examples—the ones that seemingly break the “rules” discussed in this post.
Writers Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty introduce the protagonist of Can You Ever Forgive Me?like this: Here, the writers introduce Lee Isreal in the middle of one of the most everyday situations imaginable: asleep on a couch. As familiar and uninteresting this situation is, it perfectly sums up where she is at this point in her life: lonely. They even give her a pet cat to really drive the point home. We don’t know why she’s alone yet but we can guess it’s got something to do with her flaw. In other words, writing character descriptions doesn’t mean you always have to introduce performing a bizarre or exciting action. It means writing a description that serves the character—whether that’s exciting or mundane.
If the opening lines are dull, a reader will unlikely keep reading the rest. A hook in the essay is a catchy sentence or paragraph in the introduction which serves as an attention-grabbing element. The effectiveness of the hook is defined by its ability to motivate people to read the entire text.
Depending on the nature of your work, you can choose a hook that perfectly suits its purpose. For example, when dealing with a magazine, you can decide to use a humorous approach in your hook, and this will interest your readers. On the other hand, if you are writing a conference paper, then your hook should take a more formal shape.
The job of a hook is to raise small and increasing increments of curiosity in the reader, and this is done through word choice and placement. A smart spot for a sentence full of hooks is in the opening lines of a story or chapter, but that’s not the only place you’ll want to use them.