Starting the story – a writing tip

05/03/2009 at 1:45 am 2 comments

You want to start any story with a strong beginning. Something that keeps the reader turning the pages. There are a few simple tips to get this right.

Start with a mystery

Joseph opened his eyes. Something hard and grey was in front of his face. His nose was aching from pressing into the floor.

The mysterious start is a good beginning for a thriller. Keep the sentences short and look for effective ways to describe the environment without creating fluff.

Tip: Fluff is the enemy of writing. Always ask yourself, does this tell me something I didn’t know? Is this description important? Is there a way I can make it better, shorter, slicker?

Start with the end

Looking at her willowy hand as it stroked her daughter face, May realised, “I am dying, child.”

Her daughter gave a small yelp as she sobbed louder.

“Listen to me child, while I still have a breath of air in my body. I need to tell you about your father.” May’s voice cracked.

“Dad died last year, mom. Don’t you remember?”

“No child, your real father is still alive and he will come for you when I am gone.”

This type of beginning lends itself to a more epic drama or fable. Generally you will want to look at more dialogue and description. Tapping into memories always gives you a feeling that is overwhelming. Describe this with sound and smell even where it is appropriate.

Once again avoid the fluff.

Start with a tale

Once upon a time…

There is a legend…

In a galaxy far far away…

These are typical beginnings for a story where you are expecting people to suspend reality and bend the rules of the universe. In this case you want to make sure to tell them what the new rules are. You can do this by showing them someone flying or walking through a closed door.

Make sure that the way you begin your book reflects how you will continue your book, don’t start fast and end up describing every detail of every rock on the mountain.

Remember that putting a book down, changing the channel or walking out of the cinema is the easiest thing in the world.


Entry filed under: Writing. Tags: , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. lieben  |  06/03/2009 at 5:31 pm

    Interessante Informationen.

  • 2. RaiulBaztepo  |  29/03/2009 at 10:08 pm

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo


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