How to Write Great Story Beginnings
Aside from the title, the beginning of your piece is the first chance you have to grab the reader’s attention. Unfortunately, it’s also where many writers go wrong. So how do you write an effective and compelling story beginning?
- Begin a story in the middle: begin right in the middle of the action. This gets your audience’s attention right away. If there are details or back-story you need to fill in, you can weave that information throughout your story so as to avoid getting off to a nondramatic start.
- Begin a story with your inciting incident: if you are sharing a story about how your marriage survived the world’s worst vacation complete with both sets of in-laws, seven days of rainy weather, and an infant with colic, don’t begin your story with your wedding, your first date, etc. Begin with you almost missing your shuttle to the airport, checking into your awful hotel, or finding out that the pool is closed for the week, etc. A story is only a story if it focuses on one incident or a series of closely-related incidents!
- Use a great setting/backdrop for your story beginning: Your reader should be able to close his or her eyes and see what you saw on the day or days your story takes place. This is only possible if you ground your story in a place and time. Your story will differ greatly if you fell in love at a USO dance during World War II versus a speed dating night in early 2010. Capitalize on the setting of your story by including telling and interesting details.
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