Neal Kaplan I'm a director of technical communications working for a data analysis startup in Redwood City. I started as a technical writer, and since then I've also been learning about information architecture, training, content strategy, and even something about customer support. I'm also passionate about cross-team collaboration and user communities.

How do you begin a story?

4 min read

  • Start with dialogue or action.
  • You can ask a question.
  • Readers can imagine the setting.
  • Readers will be interested in background information.
  • In a surprising way, introduce yourself to your readers.

The beginning of a story sets the tone for the rest.

An opener is a small piece of what’s to come. I crouched in the starting position, my hands on the track. I was cradled in three branches at the top of an old oak.

Planes lined up in the sky heading toward O’Hare Airport to land. You can find out which starter makes your partner want to read your story.

How do you start a story example?

  • I didn’t intend to kill her.
  • The air turned black around me.
  • I was gripped in the darkness.
  • It felt like something was watching me as I strolled through the graveyard.
  • The painter’s eyes follow him down the corridor.
  • There was a loud cry in the mist.

How do you write a good introduction to a story?

  • Don’t let the reader know that you’re Hooking the reader.
  • The reader’s current pain is the subject of a story.
  • A story about the reader’s potential pleasure is a good idea.
  • Let them know what they’ll learn.
  • Tell about the author’s background.
  • The book should have a call to action.

A good introduction is more like a sales pitch than a piece of information.

They make you pay attention and then read the next line. What sentence or fact makes people notice?

One way to write an anecdotal hook is to use the “cinematic” technique: tell it as if you are describing a scene in a movie. The hook makes the reader sit up and notice. The rest of the page and initial story have to do the same thing as the first sentence. A short story, example, statistic, or historical context that introduces the subject in a way that is interesting and exciting will engage the reader and lead them to read more.

They want to hear about solutions that provide relief and pleasure, and maybe even take them somewhere new in their life once they are in touch with the pain points. You wrote in your positioning about the audience. You should know your reader’s pain precisely because you’ve already told that story once.

If you appeal to the reader’s pain point, you should tell a story that describes the pleasure that comes from taking the action. Show them that the goal is worth the pain. Make sure this is easy to understand by a seventh graders. You will establish your authority to be their guide, and give them a book to read.

The reader is wondering why they should trust you when you talk about your hero’s journey story here. All that is left is a simple transition to get the reader ready to read the book.

What are the 7 ways to begin a story?

  • Give a key character’s name and how they got it.
  • A landmark personal or historical event is what you should begin with.
  • The seeds of your story’s world can be sown.
  • Dialogue starts in the thick of the action.
  • A strong narratorial voice can be introduced.
  • There is a character doing something unusual.

There are 7 examples of effective opening sentences and the options they suggest for ways to begin. It is a good idea to start a story with sentences. Picking out a landmark, memorable event is a great way to show the experiences your characters have.

Scout remembers when her brother broke his elbow when she begins her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by having her narrator. This type of opening shows a character organizing and gathering their thoughts around important occasions.

A novel about one of the World Wars might begin with a character talking about listening to a radio broadcast. The story is framed from the beginning around a particular event or time in your narrator’s life. Fantasy and science fiction are examples of genres where world-building is a large part of the story.

The island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-racked Northeast Sea is a land famous for wizards. The presence of wizards gives us a single, clear image as well as an idea of something magical. It is a good idea to put world-building in the first sentence.

If you spread out a map of your world on a table, your reader will get a helpful bird’s eye view to begin. The setting section of the Now Novel dashboard can be used to come up with details for your story.

Morrison opens her epic about slavery, Beloved, with just three words: Morrison’s opening effectively conveys a sense of a mysterious spite that lingered after its painful cause is removed. Two characters are in the middle of a tense scenario, waiting for their contact to arrive. Le Carré heightens the indeterminacy by saying if the man shows up.

It is clear from the way the American makes his suggestion that the other has at least equal authority and can choose what to do next. The opening to John Green’s novel, The Fault in Our Stars, is about teenage cancer patients. In the winter of my 17th year, my mother decided I was depressed because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about. When starting a story, we might reach for description first, but actions are equally effective.

The first sentence of Dodie Smith’s classic novel, “I Capture the Castle: This simple action is strange enough to intrigue us to read more, kitchen sinks not being typical sitting places” is an unusual action. The first paragraph gives us a glimpse into the character, the young, aspiring writer, who can’t say that she is really comfortable, and there is a depressing smell of carbolic soap, but this is the only part of the kitchen where there is any daylight left. She could show her excitement when she sends a poem or manuscript to a publisher.

What are the 7 important parts to a story?

  • A character. Unless your reader feels something for the characters, they won’t care about what happens to them, and they won’t read on.
  • The plot is about something.
  • The setting is being set.
  • There’s a point of view.
  • The style.
  • A theme.
  • The devices are literary.

Real people have likes, dislikes, funny little quirks, and habits.

It will be difficult for the characters to come to life and the reader won’t want to keep reading unless there is a good basic story. It could be a place of residence, such as Hogwarts or Oxford. It can be large and impersonal like Outer space, a more intimate setting like a kitchen or even an imaginary place like Narnia. The writer’s tools include humour, irony, and personification.

The use of figures of speech such as metaphor, hyperbole, and simile, and tone, the underlying feeling of the book, are also worth mentioning. If you are going to use a flashbacks scene, make sure it is clear that we are in that mode.

What are the 10 steps to writing a story?

  • An idea. There is an idea.
  • A general plot. What is it about the novel?
  • There is a character. When I have the elevator pitch down, I tend to move away from the plot.
  • It is a synopsis. Ah, that’s the synopsis.
  • Don’t write! I write up the above synopsis in a first draft.
  • Take a moment to read.
  • Write again.
  • This is a prose edit.

What makes a good opening to a story?

A distinctive voice, a point of view, a rudimentary plot and a hint of characterization are what an opening line should have. Unless there is a particular reason to keep this information, we should know the setting and conflict at the end of the first paragraph.

Neal Kaplan I'm a director of technical communications working for a data analysis startup in Redwood City. I started as a technical writer, and since then I've also been learning about information architecture, training, content strategy, and even something about customer support. I'm also passionate about cross-team collaboration and user communities.

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