I had never before been away from my family for more than one night, yet here I was, approaching night seven.
No one around me spoke a word of English; even the station signs and maps were jibberish. An old woman entered and slid onto the red plastic seat next to me.
The train wheels screeched on a curve, and a station came into view through the slightly-tinted windows.
I momentarily forgot that I was nearly four thousand miles away from home, alone, and on a rickety subway.
She wears her stockings with unspoken pride, despite the numerous runs and tears that spot the blue-veined and sinewy legs.
: When I was only five years old, I was abducted by aliens, but they pretty quickly got tired of me biting them in my frustration at not being able to communicate with them, so they brought me back, kicked me off their ship, and went off looking for another specimen.
Some comments: First, hooks openers won’t get you far if you don’t transition from them well, and that, too, takes some talent, but, again, we’re here to help.
Second, if you want to draw attention to something, it’s always best to create “white space” around it, and that argues for isolating your hook by itself as a single word, sentence, or very short paragraph, as we’ll demonstrate in some of the example that follow.
Third, there’s probably an infinite number of ways to open your essay in ways that will capture the reader’s attention and make him/her want to read the rest of it, but some of the best that we’ve seen fall into broad categories.
So, with the understanding that we can’t categorize all of them and many of them clearly cross categories, here are some of our favorites, all of which told us immediately that there was more to the story; we wanted to know what that something was: At the corner of each eye lie little crinkle lines, tip-offs to her mood; they might be laughing, or exhausted, or some days furious and fed up with people.