ZIP Final Blog Post

What are some effective ways to write a hook for a novel?

When I first started this inquiry, the questions I asked myself were “What interests me most about novels?” and “What makes good novels stand out?” After pondering these questions for a while, I realized that a good novel immediately hooks you in, draws your attention, and immerses you into the story. The very beginning of a novel, the hook, is the first thing you see when you open up a book, and it is the first thing you judge when you start to read. If you don’t like the hook, or if it isn’t captivating enough, chances are you aren’t going to like the rest of the story. I decided to research different techniques and styles for writing hooks, but at the beginning of my inquiry, I was worried my question was too narrow. I had no idea how much information I would end up finding. For this reason, my inquiry question stayed the same. I set out with the intention of broadening it as I went along, but it ended up being perfect. I had enough information to properly answer the question, but not so much that it became overwhelming.

During this project, I have expanded on so many important, relevant skills, such as time management, organization, and research skills. We had a timeline set in stone from day one, and I had a schedule that I wanted to stick to as best as possible, so I knew I would have to work to stay on top of things. Luckily, I was able to manage my time properly, something I have definitely struggled with in the past (and still struggle with to this day). I also had to make sure that I knew the deadlines for each of the smaller assignments, such as the blog posts or the rubrics, so that I didn’t accidentally turn something in late. Luckily, thank to my schedule which I checked every day, I didn’t miss anything and completed all of the assignments on time. As for the research skills, I found that it was challenging to research a topic such as hook writing since the styles can vary ever so slightly from person to person. Another impediment was the fact that personal preference was a huge factor in which styles were considered the best, and which ones were considered overused. I found multiple websites written by authors that had contradicting statements about certain styles simply because of personal preference. Looking back, it would have been useful if I had done less research and more analyzing of novels so that I could decide for myself which styles were more effective. All of the above skills that I expanded on are extremely helpful to me, and can be directly applied to most of my other school courses and extra curricular activities.

If I were to list all of the possibilities of hook writing styles, it would take up hundreds of pages. To answer my inquiry question, I took the most common forms of hook writing and wrote some examples myself. The styles I used include: introducing a problem, startling first line, moment of confusion, state a fact, unusual set up, and ask a question. These were some of the most common styles I came across during my research and while analyzing certain novels. For example, in the novel I read for my independent study, The Handmaids Tale, the hook is an unusual set up. The first line of the story reads, “We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.” This hook causes the reader to ask questions, to which they want the answers. This tactic is common among authors, as it forces the reader to continue reading the novel in order to find out why something is happening.

I learned a lot about each of the different styles of writing listed above, and I wrote an example hook for each style about a man named Ryan who was on a hike through the forest with some friends. Each hook showcases the unique styles authors take on to captivate the reader and create an interesting story. One of the core competencies I chose is ‘transform ideas and information to create original texts’. I believe that I fully achieved this, and exceeded expectations by writing many hooks based on the information I gathered from my research and from analyzing novels. My final presentation clearly relates to all three of my chosen competencies, and proves that I have learned a lot about different hook writing techniques.

A new question that popped up while I was doing research is “How do you write a hook for a novel in a series where the previous novel ended on a cliffhanger?” I wanted to research this further, but I decided that this question would not end up advancing my research in any way. I am interested in looking into this style more in the future, perhaps for another similar inquiry project or simply on my own.

Resources

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-a-hook-2316023

This resource was one of the first ones I looked at, and it was very informative. It asks questions such as ‘who are you writing for?’ and ‘what is important to your audience?’ which I found very helpful.

10 Ways To Hook Your Reader (and Reel Them in for Good)

This resource was very useful in terms of gathering information. It had ten different techniques, each with an example, which I found helpful.

6 Ways to Hook Your Readers from the Very First Line

This resource gave me an interesting perspective, which was things not to do. Instead of focusing on what styles to write, or what techniques to use, this resource also gave some information on what was overused or unnecessary.

How to write a hook: 8 tips to lure in readers

This resource was extremely helpful in the sense that it not only gave examples for each style, but also books which used them. This gave me a lot of insight on what books to look for when analyzing novels, which helped me a lot.

How to Write a Good Hook & Start Your Novel with a Bang!

This resource was actually the one that gave me the idea to search up ‘hooks for novels in a series in which the previous novel ended on a cliffhanger’. It is a very helpful link that also happened to give me a cool question for if I want to expand on my learning in the future.

In-Depth 1

It’s January, meaning that year two, my final year of in-depth, has officially begun! This year, I am going to be learning how to speak Italian. My family is taking a trip to Italy over the summer to visit some friends, and I would love to be able to communicate with them in Italian as well as in English. I am very excited to learn a new language, I am currently bilingual and learning languages has always been an area of passion for me.
Currently, I am still in the process of securing a mentor. I have met with someone from the Burnaby school district who teaches Italian courses, but I am still waiting to hear back from her. However, I have been learning Italian on my own, for upwards of half an hour daily. I can say simple sentences, such as ‘Ciao, come stai?’ which translates to ‘Hi, how are you?’ I have also started studying verbs, such as to eat (mangiare), to drink (bere), and to read (leggere). I am very happy with my progress so far, and I am having tons of fun learning this new language!
Currently, the only major struggles I have faced were getting started, and taking notes. When I first started learning Italian, I had no idea where to begin. Should I start with google translate? Should I use an application on my phone to teach me? Should I focus all of my attention into getting a mentor? Eventually, I decided upon using a free app called Duolingo, which teaches you any language you would like by feeding you information and asking simple questions to demonstrate your learning. The app is very easy to use, and I like the teaching style a lot.
The second problem was note taking. I needed to figure out how to write down all of the information I learned quickly and efficiently. Since I am learning an entire language with no background knowledge whatsoever, I had no idea where to start. I wrote down everything I could think of, from spelling, to pronunciation, to examples of sentences where that word may be used. After a while, I got the hang of it, and my notes started becoming a little bit clearer. However, all of my Italian notes are very messy, and definitely need some organizing.
To conclude, I am working hard and having fun, and I should have my mentor secured within the next week. I cannot wait for in-depth night, I have already started planning out what my station will look like. I am very excited to pursue my goals, an even more excited to see what comes next.

ZIP Blog Post 3

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself at the start of your inquiry?

I would tell myself that looking for a specific set of rules is a bad idea. Writing is ambiguous, especially creative writing. There are no strict rules to follow to write the perfect book, or else everyone would be best selling authors. I would tell myself to spend less time looking for methods and more time analyzing hooks from popular novels, and finding the ones that stood out to me most. From there I would be able to start coming up with reasons for why certain hooks stood out to me more than others, and I would be able to create my own using the same style and techniques. I have just started this step in my inquiry, and although the research I completed is helping my in the analyzing process, I could have been more efficient had I started reading hooks sooner.

ZIP Blog Post 2

What new questions have come up in your inquiry? Will you include these in your final presentation, or might they be saved for future research or assignments? Do these questions help narrow your focus or do they distract you from your original proposal?

During my research, while looking for different techniques to write hooks for stories, I came across an article illustrating how to write a hook for a novel later on in a series, in which the previous novel ended in a cliffhanger. There was information on how to start a story back up and make it flow nicely, while still being sure to provide background details and information from the previous books. I am not planning on including any written hooks for this specific style of hook writing in my presentation, since I would need to also write a conclusion from a previous book, and it would just get complicated. I am also not planning to include an example of this highlighted in a popular novel, since the majority of the class would have to know the backstory, which would be hard. Although this question is not furthering my inquiry, it is not distracting me from my original proposal. It is a very interesting perspective to see hook writing from, and it does fit in my question, but I just won’t be mentioning it in my final presentation.

ZIP Blog Post 1

Provide a copy / image of your research notes. What concepts in your learning do you now feel you have a solid grasp on? Which ones might be useful to other students in their learning?

ZIP Notes

There are multiple people in the class who are focusing on writing pieces of literature, but the people who I think would most benefit from my research are Leah, Sarah Fong, Shubham, and Rowan. All of them are planning on writing some type of story or script, and hooks are extremely important components of both. Hopefully I will have the chance to talk to them about how they are planning on starting their stories off, and with their permission, I would love to use some of their story examples in my presentation.

ZIP Proposal

What are some effective ways to write a hook for a novel?

This year for ZIP, I am going to be analyzing and practicing different styles of hook writing for novels. The hook is the first thing you read in a novel, it’s what starts the story off. It’s the first thing the reader sees when they open up the book. Personally, I tend to decide on wether I like a story or not in the first five to ten pages. If the writing style isn’t working for me, or the story is just too boring, I won’t continue reading. I started thinking about why that is, why some novels are immediately captivating and some aren’t, and I realized that the hook has a lot to do with it.
Currently, my knowledge about hooks comes from reading novels and writing short stories in school. I have not done any hard research about how to write an effective hook in the past, especially not in longer stories. However, there are a lot of skills that I can gain from completing this project. Some examples are learning how to entice readers (which can be applied to many different types of writing), being more concise in my writing, learning different styles of hook writing, and applying the styles to different writing pieces to see what works best.
Someone I can approach for this project is my mom. She was an English teacher at a high school for 15 years, and she now works there in the career department. She knows a lot about novel writing, and she also knows the English teachers at the school, who could help. She has access to many resources at her school, such as novels, worksheets, textbooks, and teachers manuals. Some other helpful resources for me could be previous worksheets I have gotten, previous writing I have done, novels I have at home, and the internet.
At the end of this project, I am planning on demonstrating my learning by reading several novel hooks I have written and explaining the effectiveness of each one. I am also hoping to put some novels up on display with similar examples of hook styles highlighted, to add to the overall comprehension of my project.
Below is a link to my schedule for learning, which I am planning on following throughout the duration of this project.

ZIP Schedule

I am extremely excited to implement this schedule and to begin working on my project. ZIP is such an incredible opportunity to learn something new, and I can’t wait to share my presentation with the class.

Ursula Le Guin’s Writing Styles

Based on Chapter 1 of A Wizard Of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin, we can conclude that her writing style is very unique. She focuses a lot on literary tools, such as foreshadowing, personification, and parallelism, such as when she wrote “Then his aunt was a little afraid of his strength, for this was as strong a spell as she knew how to weave […]” (5). This is foreshadowing on how Duny grows up to become a very powerful sorcerer. Ursula also uses a lot of long, compound-complex sentences in her writing, which can create some beautiful, imagery filled expanded moments. She is very good at knowing when longer sentences will be especially beneficial, like in the scene where Duny gets his true name. Ursula wrote “as he entered the water, clouds crossed the sun’s face and great shadows slid and mingled over the water of the pool about him.” (16) Lastly, Ursula has a way of advancing the storyline while still allowing it to flow smoothly. There are few parts in the first chapter that feel forced or choppy, even though Duny receives three different names, a war occurs, five years pass, and the story advances drastically. The writing is not insanely difficult to follow, and there is clearly a methodically organized structure to the writing itself. The paragraphs never go too far off topic, and none of them distract you from the plot. Each word was written for a reason, and adds to the overall understanding of the chapter. To sum it all up, Ursula’s writing is unique in the fact that she uses many long sentences but still manages to convey the sense of intensity and intrigue that any good book should. I am looking forward to reading more!

Earthsea Anticipation

To get smarter, it is best to try to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible.

I disagree with this statement. If you want to gain knowledge, sure, you could cram your brain full of as much information as it can handle. But I personally believe that the best way to learn information and actually retain it for a long period of time, is by working on it slowly instead of trying to win a race against yourself. Have you ever tried cramming for a big exam the week before? You might think you’ll remember the information better since it’s fresh in your mind, but in reality, you haven’t had enough practice working with the material to fully understand the concept. Who would do better on a test: someone who crammed for forty hours the week before, or someone who studied an hour a day for forty days? It’s the same amount of time spent studying, but the person who spread it out over a longer period of time would end up with the higher score. The reason for this is because the longer you are exposed to something, the better the chance you have of that thing sticking in your long term memory. It’s called long term for a reason! Long term exposure leads to long term memory, short term exposure leads to short term memory. I guess it all comes down to how long you want to retain the information. If you’re learning to get smarter, it is definitely better to slow down and go over the same material over and over and over again.

Interview

  1. Personal connections are crucial to the overall happiness of yourself and everyone around you.
  2. Living in the moment and not worrying about what you could have done differently will make a positive impact on your success.
  3. Believing in yourself and committing to becoming the person you know you can be will get you far in life.

Harrison Bergeron

The story 2081 showcases a world in which everyone is perfectly equal, right down to their athletic abilities and intelligence. Everyone is required by law to wear handicaps in order to have the same amount of abilities as everyone around them. After both reading the story and viewing the film, I believe that the most effective way to tell the narrative ‘Harrison Bergeron’ is in the film format. Personally, I learn better by seeing something play out in front of me rather than reading about it, so films are generally my preferred learning material. However, there are many other contributing factors that lead to the conclusion that the film is the more effective medium for telling this story.
First of all, in the film, George has flashbacks to the day when Harrison was taken away. In the book, the only mention of Harrison before he shows up on the television is when the narrator sets the scene at the start of the story. After explaining how this new form of society runs, it is mentioned that “some things about living still weren’t quite right, [… such as when] the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron’s fourteen year old son, Harrison, away.” (1) The film portrays George as a more complex character, who remembers his son and even misses him. This adds to the overall understanding of the story, as well as making the viewer feel more compassion towards George, Hazel, and Harrison.
Secondly, in the book, Harrison is referred to as a fourteen year old. However, he is also described as “a genius and an athlete”, “seven feet tall”, and the news bulletin states that “nobody had ever born heavier handicaps.” (3) It is said that “Harrison carried three hundred pounds [in handicaps].” (3). A fourteen year old with these abilities isn’t very realistic. In the film, Harrison is presented as an older man, and it is stated that time passed between when he was taken form his home to when he was killed. This is much more realistic, as a twenty-something with those proportions would be much more accurate.
Finally, the music that is played throughout the film is extremely helpful for setting the scenes. During the attack when Harrison and the ballerina are killed onstage, classical music is playing while steadily becoming faster and faster. This builds up suspension to the climax, the moment when the two are killed. Another example is when George has flashbacks of Harrison being taken away. The music playing during those scenes is similar to the music that plays during the attack, but it is louder and keeps a steady bet instead of speeding up. This insinuates that George feels the same type of distress when his son is killed as when he is taken away, which shows how much George cares for Harrison.
In conclusion, I believe that the film 2081 gives a better presentation overall of the story, and is a lot clearer for the reader than the book.