Ideas to Keep Readers Hooked

Ideas to Keep Readers Hooked

How do you get readers to keep turning your story's pages? If you want to send your readers into a 3AM reading frenzy, these ideas could help! 


Dangle Some Questions

If you leave some questions open, readers are going to (hopefully) tear through your book looking for answers. Who was the mysterious woman who gave your main character the key? Why does her father want to keep her true heritage a secret? What’s her best friend hiding? Even if you’re not writing a mystery you can still dangle questions in front of your reader without answering them at once.

Here are some ideas of questions you can dangle:

  • What is that person hiding?
  • Why does everyone refuse to speak about X?
  • Why does a hush fall over the room when a certain location is mentioned?
  • Who are the character’s real parents?
  • Where did that character get that scar from?
  • Why did X lose their magic?
  • Where did the dragons/soldiers go?
  • Who left the cryptic message on the desk?
  • Why does a character freak out when you mention X?
  • What happened during the summer that everyone keeps alluding to but won’t explain?


Immerse Us

Put some effort into making the world seem tangible, even if it’s a really mundane setting. No matter how glamorous or ugly the setting is, making it vivid can really suck the reader in.

Don’t just tell us the forest was spooky, show us the gnarled trees, the stink of decay and the distant howls of animals in pain.

A quick tip to do this is to add sensory details. You can use the free Settings Cheat Sheet as a reference. You can can get it (along with other resources like the Body Language Cheat Sheet) right here:


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Make Us Care About the Characters

Goes without saying, but we’re more eager to find out about what happens to a character if we about the character.

This doesn’t mean they need to be nice or relatable. We can still care about unlikeable characters as long as they’re intriguing or entertaining. They just need to capture us in some way and feel real, not cartoonish.



Show the Stakes

Don’t just tell us, show us what your protagonist has to lose if they fail.

If their village is going to be torched by a dragon, show us some happy village festivities. If your hero’s love interest is going to be killed, show us their sweet relationship. If she might lose her job, show us how much of an impact this job has on her life and how much she loves it.

You can make the consequences of failure very dire. This shows us how important it is for your hero to succeed.

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