Raising the Stakes: How to Hook–and Keep–Your Reader’s Attention

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm Eastern

Level All Levels

A deep dive into strategies for establishing what’s at stake in your writing.


Additional Information

As a writer, how can you break through all the noise of the world to grab–and keep–your reader’s attention? How can you establish what’s at stake in your work in a way that’s both honest and compelling?

In this webinar, we’ll focus on the problem of how to ensure that there’s something in your creative nonfiction story—a compelling question or element of suspense or promise of something to come— that hooks your reader in the first paragraph or two and keeps them going, all the way to the end. You will come away with several concrete strategies for meeting this challenge.

Through close analysis of great writers of creative nonfiction, we will uncover how to turn even the most mundane experiences and idiosyncratic interests into writing that’s urgent, exciting, and meaningful.

In this webinar, you will:

  • DISTINGUISH between a work’s opening “hook” (how it first grabs our attention) and its larger significance or “stakes” (why it matters, what the reader can take away from it);
  • ANALYZE how masters of the craft hook our attention in their opening pages and convey the larger significance of their work;
  • CONSIDER why the stakes of a piece don’t need to be life or death in order to be deeply compelling;
  • LEARN rhetorical strategies that will get readers to invest their time and attention in your work.

There will be time for a Q & A at the end of the presentation.

This webinar is ideal for any writer looking for ways to establish what’s at stake in their writing, but will be especially helpful for writers who want to ensure that their submissions stand out in the slush pile.

All registrants receive a recording.

Closed captioning will be available.

Course Presenter

Course Registration


Out of stock

Become a Supporting Subscriber today and get up to 10% off your purchase.

Please Note

It is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you'd like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our director of education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected].

Hear from our Students

Creative Nonfiction’s online writing classes have helped more than 3,000 writers tell their stories better.

Read Success Stories


I enjoyed reading other peoples work and getting feedback about my own work– the handouts/video links and class lessons were also very informative and relevantly paced to the give structural guidelines.

Catherine O’Neill