Like the opening scene of a movie, where you are arrested by the horrendous sight of screaming passengers on board an Airbus A380 plummeting through the air, plumes of smoke rising from what looks like a wounded left engine, the hook of your essay is the crucial first few moments to captivate your readers. And just as you make a grand entrance, you bow out with a flourish. Your conclusion needs to leave an impact— a thought-provoking lesson, a warning or an uplifting message.
In this post, you will learn strategies to craft effective essay hooks and impactful conclusions which you can use in the narrative essay.
Crafting the essay hook
For the storytellers among you, think about how you can “paint a picture” in your readers’ mind. Go for the visual, the vivid and the breath-taking.
Here are 3 ways you can make a great narrative start:
The story begins with the narrator’s exclamation, making the reader wonder what has got him/her so excited. “Leona Wee”, “build her business” are some clues we are given further on. And we find out that the narrator is full of admiration for this woman’s gutsy venture into the business world. Dialogue gives readers private insight into characters thoughts and feelings, so give your readers such exclusive insight through crafting engaging dialogue.
The scene opens with a child peering at his busy father, taking in all his motions from dawn to dusk. From rising before everyone else to work and staying up late into the night to do his marking, we slowly learn about the father’s character — his hard work and dedication and all this in spite of his old age.Think of your favourite movie character, online persona or celebrity. What is so striking about them? What about them makes you gush? Home in on those aspects and describe them in high-definition and full technicolour, and make them someone else’s idol too!
Nothing quite captivates like getting a slice of the action up-close. The narrator describes every action leading up to the goal — “footsteps pounded”, “raised her arms”, “well-timed leap” and “deflected the incoming ball”, giving readers every bit of the triumphant moment. For the football fans and avid gamers, you surely recall a momentous goal or a close call during the gameplay. Paint the scene by describing the players’ actions, the fouls and the crowd’s reactions. Transport your readers to the scene of your story, be it the scene of a crime, accident or even birthday party!
Crafting the Ending
Most of us love a happy ending though not every story ends this way.How can we resolve a story in a realistic way that resonates with our readers?
Here are 2 ways you can leave an impact at the end of your story:
1. Personal reflection
The narrator concludes with a personal lesson that has changed the way she sees herself, and the most striking sentence is perhaps that in bold, which compares her experience of failing to meet expectations with her failure to catch a netball pass. This comparison enables the readers to connect the narrative with her reflection. Showing how you learn from life’s lessons can be deeply encouraging and moving for your readers who may be in a similar situation.
2. Message in a metaphor
What better way to paint a picture than by using a metaphor? Put an image in your readers’ mind, as the narrator has done so with a “sailboat”. By portraying herself as a sailboat, she aptly captures the risks that she faces on an entrepreneurial journey (the “treacherous storm”) and the need to build strong foundations before taking on this venture (“build a sturdier ship with which to sail the high seas”). Providing your readers with vivid imagery almost always leaves a lasting impact.
We have learnt strategies to craft an effective hook and impactful ending. The key to a good narrative start is to use vivid descriptions for dialogue, character and scene to pique your readers’ curiosity, while the key to a memorable ending is a personal reflection or vivid imagery. Try these strategies and see which works best for you!
In part 2 of this post you will learn how to craft effective hooks and impactful conclusions which you can use in the expository essay.
Extracts taken from: Present Perfect2020 Issues 1, 4/5 and 6.
Upper Secondary English tuition class schedule
|Day||Start Time||End Time|
|Sec 4 - Sunday||3.30 pm||5.30 pm|