How to Hook The Reader Every Time

Normal people’s lives disrupted

Christopher Oldcorn
· 3 min read

A few weeks ago, my dog died. It was a traumatic and emotionally draining time.

When it happened, I experienced many emotions. Sadness from losing my writing buddy. Anger on why she died several years earlier than my previous dog of the same breed. I felt robbed of more time with her.

I wanted to write a eulogy for Abby but not immediately. My emotions were too raw. So I waited a few weeks to write.

Abby’s death disrupted my normal life, and that’s how intriguing stories began. We read stories about normal people’s lives disrupted. Abby’s death equaled disruption.

My first line was “Abby died.”

First lines in stories are crucial

The first lines are everything, especially in newspapers, magazines, and Medium stories. If you don’t grab people’s fleeting attention, they will be off to another place.

My story’s first line, “Abby died” is an example of grabbing the reader’s attention instantly. How can you not want to keep reading? I told you my dog died. Death is a universal experience. Tap into universal feelings and topics.

Grab their attention

Most readers look inside a book before purchasing whether digital or print books. We have to grab their attention immediately. People don’t read stories about the status quo.

We need to hook our audience immediately. You need to capture the reader’s attention.

In the first few pages, something big has to happen. Good stories are about disrupting people’s normal lives. That goes for fiction and nonfiction.

Photo by Arno van Rensburg on Unsplash

South American mine collapsed

A few years ago in South America a mine collapsed, and they found the miners still alive. They rescued the miners after several weeks. The story was all over the news.

Guess what? It disrupted those miners’ lives.

Ask yourself this question, do you want to read a story where the miners go to work and come home each day. Or do you want to read a story about rescuing the miners? We want to read the rescue story. That’s normal people’s lives being disrupted. That’s how to hook a reader.

Final Thoughts

If you take the right steps to create a killer first line or major event at the beginning. Your reads, claps, highlights, and shares will increase.

Call to action

In the comments section below, please post your best first line.


Do you want great content? Sign up for my newsletter here!

Christopher Oldcorn is a writer and journalist. He holds a BA in Psychology from Laurentian University, and a post-grad in Research Analysis from Georgian College. Christopher studied at The Centre for Investigative Journalism (Goldsmiths, University of London). Recognized as a Top Writer in Government, Politics, Books, Climate Change, Productivity, Creativity, & Writing.

You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

The Partnered Pen

MPP friends writing about life, love, and everything else in between together.

Christopher Oldcorn

Written by

A writer curious about the world. Published over 150 stories in 20+ publications. Keep in touch http://eepurl.com/duG0RH

The Partnered Pen

MPP friends writing about life, love, and everything else in between together.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade