Your book’s hook story or stories are easy to remember, compelling stories and messages to hook your reader’s attention. 

When I was 19 years old, between my freshman and sophomore years of nursing school at the University of Rhode Island, I was facing spinal surgery for severe scoliosis. My curves were so severe, in fact, that I received one third odds of becoming paralyzed, one third odds of dying, and one third odds of coming out okay.

Scary right?

Well here’s the twist – or curve. At the time, hearing those odds wasn’t completely traumatizing to me.

First of all, I was 19 and young adults tend to have a certain amount of “nothing can touch me” bravado. The naivete of youth played in my favor.

Second, being a Type A overachiever and eager to get back to college to pursue my dreams, my mind was very much on getting this thing over with and getting back to “real life.”

The third and final reason that these dramatic potential surgical outcomes bounced off of me, was the amount of back pain I was enduring on a daily basis. By this point, I could barely stand up for 10 minutes without being in agonizing pain. This surgery was not an optional situation. I could not live like this.

Therefore when I heard those odds, the only one that I really heard the surgeon say – was the one third chance that I’d be okay.

And in my mind, I wanted to get the show on the road and get to “okay” as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately though, the road to okay was not like anything I’d envisioned. I even went as far as packing a duffel bag full of books, notebooks, a Walkman and ample cassettes, and other activities to keep me occupied in the hospital during what I saw as a whole lot of free time.

Spoiler alert – having major surgery is not “free time.” But as a 19 year old overachiever, what the heck did I know about life?

The story I just shared with you, the one I think of as my “one third, one third, one third” story, is my memoir hook. It’s the one I share when talking about my memoir The Power of the Curve, mainly because it’s dramatic, relatable, and super easy to remember.

Do you have a hook story for your book, memoir or otherwise? It might be an actual story from your book, or one based on your book, or it could be a behind-the-scenes story about the writing of your book, or maybe a story that didn’t make it into your book (cutting room floor content).

What’s your hook story? Feel free to share it for feedback with your fellow authors in my Ink Authors group!

P.S. Need more intensive help figuring out your book’s hook story? Let’s chat!

Related Articles:

3 Ways to Find Power in Life’s Curves

Untangling Multiple Memoir Threads

A Self Awareness Strategy for Authors


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