This is one of a series of books by Mary Buckham. She has books on writing active hooks, and writing active settings, and I think I’ll be working my way through them. This one is on Active Hooks, covering action, emotion, surprise and raising questions, with mentions of other types of hooks (book 2 in the series includes unique character hooks and foreshadowing among its topics, as well as placement of hooks). This book is only available as kindle version, costing around the same as a posh coffee, although I note that there is an omnibus edition available of the Active Settings series, with the Active Hooks as a bonus, in both ebook and paperback format, and I’m very tempted.
Hooks are “tools to engage readers and keep them engaged”, and the examples include ideas on how to control the tension within the hook, depending on what genre you’re writing in.
Each hook is introduced clearly, with each chapter including examples from popular fiction, plus worked examples where a simple sentence is enhanced to include a hook, or a variety of hooks, that pull the reader forward and make them want to read more. There are then practical assignments, such as going into a book shop, to a shelf you don’t normally read from, and picking up books at random to read their opening sentence.
This isn’t a particularly long book, but it provides a lot of detail on a specific topic, and is worth a look at if you feel your writing needs a little more jazz. As it’s a short ebook, it’s ideal to have on your phone app for those moments you’re out and about and need something to read. By itself, it’s not going to have a major effect on your writing, but if you’re at the stage where you’re confident on the basics of plot and setting and just want that extra oomph that will pull the readers along, then this would be well worth considering.