Emotions. They are the key to my characters. As I said in the Great Blogging Experiment post, I always start with the emotions of my characters and build out from there.

The same is true when I read – I’m always looking for the emotional hook.

I don’t know, maybe it’s what I do for my day job…or the fact that I am so emotionally intense myself. Either way, emotions are a central part of a story for me.

But how do you hook the reader emotionally?

I think it all comes down to caring about the characters and what they are experiencing.

I’m going to use one of my fav movies as a great example of creating an emotional hook right at the beginning….

Star Trek.

Yeah, I know I know….I am a Trekkie at heart. But seriously, Look at the beginning of the recent version of this movie. Kirk’s father is placed in the ultimate emotional scenario, sacrificing himself in order to save his wife and newborn. We don’t know these characters for more than a minute or so before our hearts break for them.

The writers tapped in on a common human emotion – loss of a loved one – and delivered an opening that hooked us.


The same needs to be done in our stories.

For me, I map out the emotional arc of a story much as I do the character and plot arcs. I want to pull the reader in and keep them emotionally invested throughout the story –

In short, I really want them to care.

I don’t know that I always achieve this goal…but I do know I always try!

What about you guys? Do you look at the emotional hook in your stories? How important is it to you?


11 thoughts on “Yea, I FEEL ya!

  1. Great point about Star Trek. Yeah, I ‘m a Trekkie, too. Funny, this is the second time in a week I’ve admitted that. Heh….

    I really have a hard time to read a book if an emotional hook is lacking. I need to care about the character or their plight.

  2. I’m not a Trekkie, but I love the movie.

    I think it’s incredibly important to write in emotional hooks. In fact, I think all hooks are emotional. To hook people, you need to grab their emotions and hold on to them for the rest of the book.

    On the other hand, I don’t make specific attempts to hook people. I used to, but I guess I’m so used to writing first chapters that hooks with potential come naturally.


  3. I’ve never seen Star Trek, but I do agree that emotions are really important to me when reading a book. Even if there’s plot, if the emotion isn’t present then I’m less thrilled with the book.

  4. This weekend, I was looking through the MSFV secret agent contest entries for what the agent had to say. The one’s she was hooked on or would keep reading were the ones critters commented on about the emotional connection they had with the mc. If there was no connection, the agent pointed that out. Those were the ones she wouldn’t keep reading.

  5. Man, that was such an intense, freaking awesome beginning to a movie, wasn’t it? It’s the emotions that suck the audience in. Like, okay, the Star Wars prequels would have been so much better if they’d explored the depth of emotion a bit more, no? For me, it’s the emotional arc of the main character that drives the story, no matter how kickin the plot is. If I can’t feel for the character, the story falls flat.

  6. (sorry, this comment is about your first chapter, not really about the post, which was excellent, but … here goes …) Holy cow Christine. I need to read your book. When I first learned about your book I thought it didn’t apply to me. I wouldn’t have considered either of my boys “intense”, though I do believe one for sure is gifted, and probably the other too–especially now that I read your first chapter.

    Your description at the very beginning of the ten year old girl, could have been about my ten year old Charlie.

    He can do amazing things in school from TIME TO TIME but he can also be so sloppy, so careless. He NEVER wants to try. Even though when he applies even a modicum amount of effort he breezes through. It’s like he’d rather cry and get nothing done instead of apply himself for a minute.

    I probably miss some of the “clues” because I homeschool my boys, so are pace and workload can be individualized. But still … I read that whole first chapter and am just HUNGRY for more. Just in that one sample my eyes have been opened to possibilities about my boys and knowing them will help so much.

    Thank you so much for writing this book and for sharing the sample! ((hugs))

    1. Ali – I am speechless. If you knew me in RL, you’d know how hard that is to accomplish! Thank you so very much for your kind words. I hope you enjoy the rest of the book as well.

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