Monday, May 9, 2011

a month of stories: the hook

here's what wikipedia says about one of my favorite songs from the 90's - Hook by Blues Traveler...

...the song's title refers to a 'hook' in music terminology: the catchy element or phrase of a song which makes it distinctive and memorable. The song's lyrics assert that whatever the singer sings about is effectively meaningless, since the song's musical hook will keep listeners coming back, even if they are unaware of the reason. 
"It doesn't matter what I say / so long as I sing with inflection  / that makes you feel that I'll convey / some inner truth of vast reflection."
The song's own hook is the familiar harmonic structure of Pachelbel's Canon in D, which forms the basic chord progression of the song.
The song also references the story of Peter Pan and his arch-nemesis Captain Hook  (a second meaning to the title). 
"No matter how much Peter loved her/what made the Pan refuse to grow/was that the Hook brings you back".
{you can check out the entire song HERE.}


when it comes to stories, the 'hook'  is a literary technique in the opening of a story that "hooks" the reader's attention so that he or she will keep on reading.  unlike musical hooks that can capture us regardless of the words that are being sung...literary hooks are all about the words.  so they must be chosen carefully.


let's see you if you recognize any of these hooks from some of my favorite stories...


(1) My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973...


(2) If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth...


(3) In my first memory, I am three years old and I am trying to kill my sister...


(4) There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it...


(5) Once there was a tree and she loved a little boy...


did you guess these?


(1) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold


(2) The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger


(3) My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult


(4) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis


(5) The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein


here are a few more literary works that have 'hooked' me over the years...
what are some of your favorites?