Thrice Hooked

Hooks seem to be on everyone's mind lately. Musetracks just posted some great advice about them.

So I've been thinking about my favorite show. House.

Why is this show so addictive?

Then I realized it employs three separate hooks.

The moral/philosophical/theological question that a character struggles with at the beginning of every show.

The physical mystery of what is wrong with the patient, including the race against time to save him/her.

And finally, the emotional drama of each character's life. This hook is for long time viewers, while the other two can get a newbie interested.

THREE Hooks! And at the end, they all tie in together somehow.

How many hooks do you use in your stories? Have you ever found the hook morphing into something else by the middle of your story?


Jody Hedlund said…
I once heard that inspirational romance writers should have three strands woven throughout their books: the physical or external plot, the spirital or internal plot, and the romance plot. All are critical components to weave throughout the entire book like braid, wrapping them up by the end.
Terri Tiffany said…
I love House! Had to say that first and I love how they weave it all together.
I write short stories most often so I always try for a really good opening paragraph to hook my reader.
Jennifer Shirk said…
OK. This is going to be hard to say, but...
I've. Never. Watched. House.

I know. I must be living in a box or something. LOL

I write smaller books, so I usually just have the main hook of the story and then little baby hooks at the end of each chapter. :)
Kristen Painter said…
I really strive to close each scene on a hook that will push the reader forward. I can't say it's always successful, but I try. Hooks are really important!
Jessica Nelson said…
Hi Jody,
I've heard the same.

Terri, isn't it cool? They usually have those spiritual threads tie in with the physical problem, which I just think is genius.

Are you trying to give me a heart attack? LOL You should check out an episode online, just to see if it's interesting. :-)

Hi Kristen,
I love ending on hooks and as an avid reader, it definitely works. When an author knows how to end the chapter just right, well, it's not really ended, right? LOL I'll bet you do a great job!
I know what you mean, from seeing the same types of hooks/emotional draw in other dramas I've watched.

If I think about this in terms of plot, I can identify multiple hooks in my writing. But I should look deeper. Good stuff to be thinking on!
Jessica Nelson said…
Hi Janna,
I need to look deeper too. As of right now, I'm not sure what the hooks are in my wip, besides one.
Anonymous said…
I think I have three or four, although I may have to examine it closer to see if they actually work...

And yes, they always seem to morph into something else as I'm writing. I don't know how many times this project has turned in a different direction than what was originally planned.
Jessica Nelson said…
It's kind of fun when it changes though, right? I love going with the new flow of things.
:-) Wait until revisions...
I have to admit that I've never seen House! From what you tell me, I think I'm "hooked" on checking it out!

Mostly I write short stories and I always try for a big hook from the first sentence. I try to keep that hook around my reader until the end!
Tana said…
I love when my stories boss me around, take off in unexpected directions and it all works out for the greater good in the end.
Jessie Oliveros said…
I think I'm the third now to confess having never seen House. I love the subject of hooks. Did you see that Miss Snarks First Victim ( did a Secret Agent contest? Agent Kristin Nelson, who hid her identity until after the contest, critiqued about 60 different hooks. There is a lot of good insight, seeing what a real agent is looking for. I like how you broke it down like that. I need to remember to hook on more levels than one.
Danyelle L. said…
I think it's a good idea to have a hook at the beginning of the story and at the end of each chapter. Things that make the reader want to keep reading.

The Story and Muse are in charge. Once we established that I was only here to type things down, the relationship has gone much smoother. ;)
Jessica Nelson said…
Hi Donna! I don't know much about short stories or how they're set up. I'd love for one of you short story writers to do a post about that.
House is awesome. If you do watch one, let me know what you think.
Jessica Nelson said…
Me too, T. Anne! Fun things always seem to happen and it's exciting to be as surprised as my characters. LOL
Jessica Nelson said…
Hi Jessie,
Yeah, I did see that! I missed it though, just caught it afterwards. That seems like such a neat blog.
Hmmm, I do try to end chapters in hooks. But, again, hooks, like everything else in writing are subjective. So whether I do a good job of it for the majority of readers, I'm not sure.

Sigh. Yet another thing to master.
Jessica Nelson said…
Hi Dani,
I totally agree about hook placement. Just heard of the first sentence as a hook too.
LOL about the Muse!
Jessica Nelson said…
LOL Eileen. There does seem to be alot of hills for us to climb, right? :-) Great point in the hook subjectivity. What's hooky for a mystery reader may not draw a romance reader, so it's important to use hooks that relate to our genre and the expectation/curiosity of our audience.
That's a great question. Yes, I use multiple hooks. My hooks for Monarch, for instance, are butterflies, spies, and explosions. That's it in a nutshell. Have I got your attention?
That is such an interesting way to look at House. And you're right it does have a lot of really great hooks, but I think what really keeps me coming back to the show more so than other similar procedural type shows, are the characters - and mostly the character of House.
I try to hook at the beginning and end of every scene. Not always possible, but I like to try.

Lynnette Labelle
Jessica Nelson said…
Lady Glamis,
That's very interesting! Is it a contemporary or historical?
Jessica Nelson said…
I try it that way too, Lynette. It's kind of fun.
Jessica Nelson said…
LOL Kate! I completely agree. When I saw the very first one I thought, wow, he's like my hubby. Even has amazing blue eyes! Hubby is nicer though, less messed up. But yes, the guy who plays House has done an incredible job! His facial reactions, he just totally pulls the character off. Goes to show that even with super hooks, we still need characters people connect with and root for.
Angie Ledbetter said…
Love House too. I think it's successful because of those three hooks, but also because the dialog/plot do not speak down to the audience at all.
Jessica Nelson said…
You're so right! The writers of that show have really mastered subtext and there are so many things the audience is allowed to infer, rather than being told. Great point Angie!
Jessica, it's contemporary. :)

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