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🤯Unknown Unknowns #104 - Resonance Hooks
We tell people to add personal stories, highlight insights, and evoke emotion. We know that these are effective techniques, but why?
It’s because they make the reader resonate with the author.
The sense of connection creates engagement.
In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), there is a concept of “hooks.” A BJJ player uses their limbs as leverage points to control the opponent.
In writing, we use “resonance hooks” to engage our readers. The more ways we have for the reader to empathize or relate to the essay, the more the reader will get lost into the flow.
This is why you have stories.
This is why you write clearly.
This is why you have metaphors.
This is why you write with a person in mind.
But you need to balance placing as many resonance hooks with getting your point across. You may want to target your resonance hooks at your audience.
I could have started this essay with my first BJJ class, how I was spun like a top and felt more helpless than a baby. This would have thrust you in the middle of the action. But most of you aren’t BJJ fanatics, and the story wouldn’t have resonated with you. This newsletter is about ideas, this specific essay is about writing. You might skip the section, delete the newsletter, or even unsubscribe. Instead, I started by talking about becoming a better writer, because I know that’s what a lot of you are interested in.
Hooks allow you to guide the reader, to leverage their attention.
In BJJ, with the right technique, you can control your opponent. In writing, if you resonate with your reader, you entertain, teach, and convince.
This cohort of Newsletter Launchpad had a ton of great new newsletters. I wish I had room to share all of them, but here are some standouts:
1️⃣dives behind the seemingly mundane events to expose insights he finds. Here, he shows how he learned to become a leader accidentally. Don’t miss his visuals are gripping, too.
2️⃣'s first issue is the heartfelt tale of how he confronted panic attacks, and even worse, the fear of panic attacks.
3️⃣explores the branching paths our lives take. We can regret roads not taken, or we can embrace the opportunities that open up.
4️⃣writes about how reality was a shock from his childhood idealism, and how he overcame that disillusionment. Disillusionment is created by the gap between expectations and reality.
5️⃣talks about the hidden lessons that you need when going self-employed. Leaving your job is a huge step, and he shows how to prepare the way.
Quote of the Week:
"Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world." — Archimedes
Chef and Food Writer Anthony Bourdain had a semi-hidden passion for BJJ in his last years. I didn’t know he was a frequent Reddit commentator, with his trademark writing style.
You can find more of my writing at chr.iswong.com.
Questions, suggestions, complaints? Email me at [email protected].
If you enjoyed this newsletter, please share it with a friend or two. And feel free to send anything you find interesting to me!
Leaving you in peace,