A "hook" is something irresistibly interesting in the first sentence or two of an essay that draws readers in and inspires them to keep reading. It should match the tone of the piece and support the main point. A hook can take the form of a quote, an amazing statistic or a little-known fact. It can be a brief recounting of a hilarious or a frightening moment.
There are several ways to develop a good hook. Start by making a list of the most intriguing ideas that you plan to include in your essay. Verbally explaining them to someone else and watching for a reaction will also move you closer to the goal.
Write the body of the essay first. Then return to the first paragraph to refine and shape it. Ask yourself, "Will these first couple of sentences capture my reader like a fishing hook bites into a fish?" Be brutally honest for best results.
Read hooks written by published authors in local or national newspapers to get a feel for the variety of ways this tool can be implemented. Take seriously the power of a well-crafted hook, because if you can't snag your reader's attention up front, it's unlikely that they will continue reading what you have to say.