Narrative Grabbers



Hmmm.  Let's see now... When you're writing a story, what's the best way to get your reader's attention right away?  Many professional writers start off with a sentence that "hooks" the reader.  This curiosity-stirring sentence is called a grabber. 

Grabbers catch our attention right at the beginning and make us what to read the rest of the story.

Some stories start with ordinary sentences that don't really "tickle our curosity. 
                    Once upon a time there was a little girl.

                   Jack lived with his mother.

                   The little dog was brown.

These sentences are okay, but they don't really capture our attention.  Grabbers, on the other hand, use words that make us want to keep reading to see what happens next. 

                 Sally Romano was a ten-year-old girl who lived all alone in an empty house by the sea.

                 "Mother," called Jack, "The three beans have grown into a magical beanstalk that leads up to the sky!"

                 The little brown dog limped through town, dragging one bloody paw behind him.

Grabbers should make the reader feel curiosity, humor, wonder, sympathy, anger, sorrow, fear, or mystery.  These feelings cause the reader to want to know what happens next.  They get hooked on your story!  There are many different types of grabbers:

  1. Mystery Statement: I was eleven when I found the magic key that would change my life.
  2. Shocking Statement: Stone Cold Steve Austin, WWF star, is going to be our substitute teacher tomorrow.
  3. Humorous Statement: Don't ask me why, but my little sister can get into more trouble than a bunch of monkeys.
  4. Onomatopoeia: Crash! I knew I was in trouble as soon as I heard that sound.
  5. Dialogue: "Shark!" Dad screamed.  "Get out of the water!"
  6. Rhetorical Question: How was I suppose to know that Marty Hopper was going to get me in trouble?


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