Starting Your Story at the Right Place
One of the things that will make it easier for you to grab a reader’s attention and keep it is starting your story in the right place. Many writers are innately aware of this due to the books that they have read, while others have to learn the right place to start a story. There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to choosing the place to start. Let’s look at each of them below.
Avoid Exposition Right Away
You don’t want to start your story off with a bunch of exposition. Exposition in the first few paragraphs your story is going to turn off readers and editors alike. Starting your story in the right place means you start with something that people are going to want to keep reading about. Sometimes this can be a good bit of dialogue, but more often it is something that is happening within the story that make someone want to find out more.
Use “Need to Know” for Beginnings
When it comes to the beginning, think about what people need to know and only give them that information at first. Remember, you only have a certain number of paragraphs – or possibly even sentences – to get someone hooked within your story. Make sure that you are leaving out extraneous information that you can give them later on.
Avoid Character Descriptions
Avoid describing characters in the beginning. This is something that new writers do quite often. They think that they have to describe the character in great detail before they can get into the story. Not only is it a bad idea to do at the beginning, but often you don’t need to do it at all because the reader can fill in information about the character from their imagination. Remember that you want to show and not tell. A reader should be able to infer certain details based upon what is going on within the story, dialogue that is happening or other parts of the narrative.
Talking about Action is Not Action
You should get right to the action when you are starting a story. But you need to remember that talking about action is not the same thing as action. Some writers, especially if they are writing in first person point of view, tend to tell the readers about the action that has happened up to that point or is about to happen. This is a bad idea. Instead of talking about the action, actually create a narrative where the action happens in real time.
Don’t Forget the Hook
The hook is the most important part of the story. The hook is usually the first sentence of your novel or short story. The hook is something that people read and immediately makes them want to find out more. A hook is intriguing and mysterious. Writing something like ‘John poured a cup of coffee’ is not going to make readers want to keep going.
If you want more writing tips on how to start a story, check out Reedsy