How to Hook Your Reader: A Psychologist's Advice

October 06, 2021 4 min read

Fish book

By psychologist Robert Faulkner

You may need to capture people's attention in various life scenarios. For example, when looking for a life partner, you could craft a compelling profile on thebest dating sites in the hope of attracting your soulmate.

The same also applies to anyone who wants to become a great writer. Good writing demands you grab the reader's attention from the first paragraph. From here, they should be hooked in till the end so that they do not feel like putting the material down.

Failure to do this means the readers will lose interest fast, and they may not read all the material you present, regardless of how valuable it is. 

We understand that many incredible writers, even those with good writing skills, struggle to seize their audience's attention from the beginning. To assist with this, we have prepared a helpful guide on good writing that will uncover some secrets to grab the reader's attention from the first sentence.

All of this advice is backed by advice from psychologists. 

1. Be Conversational and Visual

Good writing involves presenting material that will get readers to "see" what they are reading, answering the query about what makes good writing. 

One-third of the human brain is dedicated to vision. Numerous studies confirm that readers will understand and even remember material better when the writer expresses it in concrete language, allowing them to form visual images

An author who engages in good writing avoids trying to sound smart in a manner that makes the reader feel stupid or belittled. Instead, your writing should be conversational so that the reader ends up feeling like a genius or equal.

Good writing has everything to do with creating symmetry between the writer and the reader. Your main aim should be to orient the readers to use their eyes to see something in the world that they may not have seen yet or present a different perspective of what they already know.

It will excite the readers as they make the discovery, prompting them to find out everything you wanted to say in the piece. 

2. NEVER Start your Material with Apologies 

Time and again, you must have heard that apologizing is the right thing to do. This does not count if you are looking for good writing tips, especially at the beginning.

Never start your writing with an apology. Many writers make the mistake of starting their writing with phrases such as "in my humble opinion" or "I am not sure about this, but."

It is one of the things that can make readers dismiss your writing immediately after they start reading. 

Reading such statements tells the audience that the author confirms they are not good enough to present the material they are writing about. Even lawyers consider apologies as an admission of guilt rather than expressions of sympathy.

Establishing authority in your writing is among the elements of good writing that every author must master. It is the only way readers can trust that you will not be wasting their time because they will be in for some excellent reading material. 

3. Use Suspense Sparingly

Unless you are an exceptional joke teller or a skilled mystery writer, good writing demands that you steer clear of building up suspense in early parts of the story.

Readers should immediately know what the author is talking about before proceeding. For instance, if you are writing about hamsters, it will not hurt to mention that the piece is about hamsters.

A majority of readers need a reference point for what you are talking about so that they do not get lost. There's a good chance that a person will abandon reading the material after the first paragraph if they do not know what you are talking about. 

4. Get to the Point 

A sure way of losing your reader's interest is using a thousand words to talk about a single point when you could have narrowed them down to a hundred.

Readers can be impatient and will ignore material before you finally make your point. Adding extra unnecessary words can make people who love to read restless.

Remember to use a mixture of short and medium-sized sentences so that readers do not struggle to figure out what you mean. 

Good writing also means editing your work relentlessly.  Each time you are writing, do not beat around the bush but immediately get to the main point. 

Scrap off all repetition and inessential details in your writing. Good writing prompts you can work with are to think as if each word you eventually send or publish will cost you $50.

With good writing, it's better to have short, robust material than long articles that do not make any sense. 

5. Organize the Content  

Sadly, some readers will not consume all the details you include in your writing regardless of how hard you work on it.They only want to skim through content to get the main points of your writing.

Therefore, good writing means you should organize your content so that everyone who comes across it will learn something. Adding categories and subheadings while writing is a great place to start. It helps readers find the details they are searching for effortlessly.

Summarize each paragraph at the beginning or end so that anyone reading will still understand the message even when they do not read the entire text.

Format your text withitalics orboldto make the most critical statements stand out from the rest of the content.

***

Every author needs to master the art of good writing so that the audience enjoys their content. The tips above will help you capture your readers' attention from the first paragraph and keep them hooked till the end. 

Do you follow any of the above steps when coming up with your pieces? Is there something we left out? Let's talk in the comment section below. 

Want your whole book to hook readers? Download our Novel Revision Checklist, free.  


About the Author

Robert Faulkner is a family and child psychologist. He has been working with couples of different ages and wants to share his thoughts about relationships with you. Robert’s hobby is traveling inside the UK and abroad. He has visited more than 15 countries, including the USA, Spain, France, the Netherlands, etc. One of Robert's biggest dreams is to take a photo on the top of Everest.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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