Short story hooks with Paul Jennings

Narrative Hooks

The Fast-Forward

Most stories start at the beginning. That would make sense.

But sometimes you can mix it up a little and start from the middle or even the end. By doing this, you can skip a lot of set-up and exposition and get straight into the action of the plot. You can then drip feed the crucial beginning pieces through devices like flashbacks or recounts, or just leave the reader to work it out themselves!

This is often referred to as starting “in media res”, which is a fancy Lating phrase meaning “in the midst of things''. It is usually an exciting way to kick off a story, especially when there is an unusual or crucial situation the character finds themself in, and you are left wondering how they got there.

I’m standing here behind the toilet block. Talking to myself. You know, having a conversation in my head. The reason that I am talking to myself is out on the netball court. Giving me the silent treatment.

‘Jill. Don’t be like that. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have tried to kiss you.’

This is what I say to myself in my head. I am rehearsing a little speech.

Tongue-TiedPaul JenningsSource
Highlighting breakdown

Here’s an example, using the same style as the snippet, but using this image as a starting point. 

The boys’ toilets are a lot worse than the girls’. I’m sitting in a cubicle, and the smell is making me feel sick. Well, not so much sitting as crouching on the seat, because I don’t want the thing chasing me to see my feet.

‘You’re going to like your new teacher,’ my mum said this morning. ‘It’s not the end of the world,’

Well who’s laughing now, because it most definitely is and I’m going to be eaten alive.

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