This week I’m going to follow-up on last week’s article: Rough Story Arc, I’m going to do a little series on breaking down the individual components of it … inspired by K.M. Weiland and her books: Structuring Your Novel and Creating Character Arcs.
Let’s first define the Story Hook: A story-worthy problem that intrigues the reader and makes them want to read further. The hook should ideally present character, conflict, plot, setting, and theme. The hook is often either a direct or a subconscious question the reader forms after reading your opening scene.
For optimum impact, the hook should be in the first sentence of the first paragraph of the opening scene of the first chapter. It most definitely should introduce the protagonist of your story and the LIE the character believes, followed by what the character WANTS versus what the character NEEDS.
The LIE is a specific belief the character has that makes him feel incomplete on the inside, about himself, the world or both and is a direct obstacle to fulfilling his plot goal.
The thing the character WANTS will usually be something external/physical, trying to fill his inner emptiness with something external (usually the plot goal).
The thing the character NEEDS is the TRUTH to the LIE, his inner goal, usually a realization which transforms himself or the world around him (often the story theme).
The character usually has to sacrifice the thing he WANTS in order to secure the thing he NEEDS.