“When writing a novel, do you add a hook near the beginning of the book after the manuscript is completed or when you start writing it?”

Tell the story the way it tells you…

Sometimes your hook may come right at the beginning, other times, it may come when you’re done with the manuscript… possibly even after you’ve submitted it.

I think when it comes to the technicalities of how to write a hook, different authors have different preferences.

A hook, for those unaware, is basically a sentence (or a group of sentences) that draws your readers in to reading your work.

Based on this, I personally prefer to begin with a captivating sentence and/or add my hook within the first two paragraphs.

This way, a promise is made right at the beginning and the anticipation of the promise fulfilled keeps the readers engaged.

Three ways you can do this:

a). Create curiosity.
Let your first sentence/ paragraph make readers curious. Intrigue them. Your first line should generate questions that lead them to read your book/story for the answers to.

b). Connect emotionally.

If your words can stir up feelings in your readers, more often than not, they will stay connected and stick with the story till the end.

c). Introduce a character.

I’m a sucker for this personally. I read a book beginning with a perculiar character and I can’t help but read on to discover more about them… two of my personal favourites are:

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C. S. Lewis

And

“Kell wore a very peculiar coat.”

A Darker Shade of Magic, V.E. Schwab

There are in fact a number of other ways to write a great first sentence hook but I think it best for each author to practice and find what works best for them… I also think it’s important not to neglect the story and what it wants to do… let the story tell you.

So, to answer the question, sometimes my story is born from a sentence, such as:

“I died a thousand times that day.”
Jenée, Xyvah Okoye & Chiedozie Omeje

Other times, I’ve gone half way through my manuscript before returning to rewrite the first paragraph.

To be honest 🙈 there was a case where I finished the manuscript completely and ended up getting my hook in on my second edit of it.

🤷🏽‍♀️ it all depends on what works for you. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do it right the first time. It will come when it’s ready… let the story tell you.

“I am a teenager and I feel like I don’t have a purpose or direction. Sometimes I get this deep sadness within me. I don’t know how to deal with it, and all I can do is think about it. Has anyone else gone through this? How do I overcome it?”

It sounds to me like you may be on the verge of depression and you may need counselling or some form of intervention. Don’t take that the wrong way. I’ve been there too.

These feelings aren’t often caused by one thing alone. Most times, there are many factors involved in you experiencing this and what councelling does is it gives you the opportunity to clear your mind and make sense of your thoughts.

Here are a few things that really help:

Read More

“What is the way to be emotionally strong in life?”

Emotional strength can imply many things.

Sometimes people take emotional strength to be not letting things get to you.

What I’ve learnt in life is that being emotionally strong is not about not feeling emotions, it’s about understanding and dealing rightly with them.

Read More

“I miss someone so much. What should I do?”

Well, that depends on a number of factors… like mainly, if they’re alive or not.

If they’re alive and you have a direct contact number… maybe check up on them.

And I don’t mean an overly excessive number of calls and texts: that’s just annoying. If you miss someone, there’s nothing wrong with just saying, “hi.”

But then again, it depends on the circumstances surrounding their “being missed.”

If they’re deceased, or they’re alive but due to one or two things you don’t really speak and for whatever reason the relationship can’t be restored, then I’d suggest:

Read More