4 Puzzle Pieces to Hook Your Readers

W = (Who, What, Where, and When)

Right up front give your readers what they want, information.

Show your readers an image that grabs hooks them from the beginning.

1. Who

  • Introduce your main character and make the reader care.
  • Show the reader who your characters are by their actions.
  • Make them care not only about who your MC is, but who they will become.
  • Help your readers connect with your character.


  • What’s happening to the characters, or their surroundings? (Jump right into the action.)
  • What are they thinking or saying? (Don’t censor them. When people think no one hears them, in their head.)
  • What is plausible? At least give your story some realism and believability.
  • Something interesting might happen, but for the story to hook your readers, what is happening must affect the characters.

3. Where

  • Where are your characters? Are they coming or going? (Literally or emotionally give the reader a hint.)
  • Where does the story take place? (The character should be there for a reason).
  • Does the where make sense?
  • Anchor your reader without excessive exposition or narrative that bogs down the reader.
  • Use sights, sounds, textures, temperature, tastes, and smells, but don’t get carried away with too many purple adjectives.

4. When

  • When goes hand in glove with where.
  • Time frame is important. However, you don’t always need to say at 3pm on this date, this happened.
  • Let the reader know when your character is living.
  • Don’t leave them floating like an astronaut without a clue as to when the events are happening.
  • Writing a historical novel? make sure to show the readers the time matches the characters.

Hitchcock’s. Axiom:  A good story is life with the dull parts taken out.

The Saga continues:

Rachel’s eyes flickered from the handgun on console to the Winchester in the rack and back to the smile behind the wheel.

“Now don’t you worry ‘bout these ole things. Ain’t a pick-up in Texas don’t have a gun or two.”

She knew he was right and it wasn’t the guns that bothered her. What bothered her was that his slick smile didn’t reach those cold blue eyes.

“No problem, got my own.” Rachel said.

The smile dimmed for a second as he took in her sidearm and the small silver badge on her belt.

“Well, glad to be of service to one of Texas’s finest. Officer?”

“Randell, Rachel Randell. Thanks, how far are we from the next town?”

“Bout forty-five minutes from Wichita Falls. That where you headed?”

Rachel nodded. “That’ll do.”

As soon as she got a cell signal, she’d call the office, get new wheels and be on her way. This guy didn’t need to know her plans. 

He leaned forward and turned up the radio. Country music filled the cab and Rachel hoped that meant the end to conversation or anything else. But she didn’t plan on relaxing, not with two extra guns and a stranger next to her.


7 thoughts on “4 Puzzle Pieces to Hook Your Readers

  1. Hi there. This is a great article, Jean. Do you mind if I feature it on my blog, A Writer’s Path (6,100 followers)? I have on guest posts 1-2 times a week. I would, of course, give you credit by name and provide a link for my followers to check out your blog. Before even considering, I wanted to ask you first.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course, I’d love for you to feature one of my posts. Sharing each others tips on blogs, books and articles is the best way to learn. At least for me. Thanks for the encouragement.


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