fantasy · Short Story · word count · Writing

On Introductions and Hooks

I encountered the concept of hooks maybe a year ago. Before that I thought hooks were the really catchy part in a song. In stories, the hook is the thing that makes you want to go on reading. At the time, it was a bit of revelation. At the time, I thought it sounded like a trick, but I am not sure now. I can just picture a hook digging into the reader’s belly, urging her to read for just one more chapter. Just one more chapter!

So, anyway, my first page has to do hook the reader, introduce the character and the situation. As I write fantasy, I also need to introduce the world and the magic. It is a tall order for 300 words. Since it is a short story, I figure I will keep it simple – dragons, princesses, witches, very little actual magic. I had only written 20 words before I discovered the dragon was sick, the girl was a princess and a witch. Now I am worried because I don’t like killing characters, but the second picture is of a cemetery and I am scared the dragon will die at the end.

But I don’t think the really sick dragon is the hook. I don’t know what my hook is. I wasn’t thinking about it when I wrote the first 266 words, but I am thinking about it now and I just don’t know. Is it even something I should worry about? Maybe hooks are part of the editing process, not the writing process.