Captain Hook

3 techniques to create killer hooks for your stories

Writers, founders, fellow muggles. Welcome to World Builders, the newsletter to help you become a more effective, creative storyteller.

Here are 1 tactic, 3 ideas, and 1 resource to do just that. Let’s get to it.

Hook of the day: “One of the worst performances of my career and they never doubted it for a second. How could I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this? This is my ninth sick day this semester. It’s getting pretty tough coming up with new illnesses.”

Reply with your best guess of what movie this gem comes from. I’ll send the 21st correct reply a copy of On Writing.

Fun fact: My wife and I watched this movie on our first date.


My entire “tech stack” for Twitter and LinkedIn is:

  • A notebook

  • Google Docs

  • Tweet Hunter

I write, and Tweet Hunter does all the tedious work. Posting, retweeting, tracking metrics, arguing with strangers, plugging this newsletter. You name it, TH does it.

But the real reason I’m a super fan… my time on socials has plummeted since starting to use the product.

Less time on social, more time doing anything else, and the same (if not better) results? I’d call that a win.


The decline of the attention span but the rise of the consideration span:

Hooks have always been important but now even more so.

Today, we’re studying:

  • Pulp Fiction

  • James Clear

  • Stephen King

Here are 3 techniques to hook your audience — regardless of platform. It’s a good one:

Animated Divider



CS Lewis on reading old books:

“It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. Every age has its own outlook. It is especially good at seeing certain truths and especially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books."

Shout out to the Write of Passage team for this gem. This quote’s the reason I try to sprinkle in both old and new ideas in this section.


The chaos needed for invention:

“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of the void but out of chaos.”

— Mary Shelley, Frankenstein


The best stories to tell:

“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.”

— JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit

Find the conflict, find the story.


Two weeks ago, I finished an outline for the book I’m working on. It’s about 20 pages and has let me bang out massive amounts of words far easier than back when I refused to outline (I’m a bit stubborn).

But that outline would be next to worthless without the book Save The Cat.

For anyone interested in writing books, screenplays, or the like, I can’t recommend Save The Cat enough. Check it out.

Want to go deeper on storytelling?

1. If you want a practical way to improve your storywriting in less than 25 minutes daily, check out StoryWork (200+ students).

2. Grab time with me for a 1:1 session on storytelling, newsletters, attracting an audience, or anything else.

3. To sponsor the newsletter, reply to this email for details.

Thanks for reading! Reply any time.

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Hope you have a great week,