Hooking Your Readers with Some Help from Jaws

Purdue Global Academic Success and Writing Resource Center and Blog

David Healey, Kaplan University Composition Faculty

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Hooking your readers turns out to have a lot in common with pretending to be a shark. One of my favorite childhood memories is of being at the beach on Cape Cod and scaring my mom. My middle brother and I would swim underwater and grab mom’s legs, causing her to shriek and run for shore. What fun!

It was the summer that the paperback version of Jaws came out, and mom read it in her beach chair and evenings at the cottage. The result was that every ripple in the water and every kid grabbing her legs became a Great White in her imagination.

Ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum!

I was thinking about Jaws and that long-ago summer because in class we recently focused on tips for hooking readers. Peter Benchley’s bestselling novel makes a great example of how to hook…

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