Let’s talk about… story BEGINNINGS

(I’ve been waiting to post that gif for a while now!)

Okay, so a while ago, I made a post about story endings. Not specifically about how to end your story, but when… at least, when you should know your ending (reminder: who cares when you figure it out; you do you at your own pace!). Now, today, I was thinking we could talk about the other end of the spectrum… the beginning (if you hadn’t already guessed). 

So, I’ve been writing for a really long time and figuring out the starting point/ beginning scene of all of my stories has never really been a major problem for me. I won’t say it hasn’t ever been a problem, because I’m sure it has off and on. However, I’ve helped a few friends (mostly on Wattpad- side shout out, haha) come up with ideas for stories and such, and I’ve noticed that everyone I’ve brainstormed with always has one specific obstacle to pass… the first sentence. 

Yeah, I know, the first sentence of a book is the most important, but don’t stress over it! It’ll be fine; just take a deep breath and don’t stare too long at that blank word document. 

Now… the first sentence sets the tone of the story to come, needs to pull the reader in, and… well, it really needs to pull the reader in. 

So, personally, I always start my stories off with one of two strong methods: either with dialogue, or with action. Both of these can be placed right off the bat and be major attention grabbers. 

Now, listen… another method used quite frequently is the description starter. If you prefer this method, though, I want you to still utilize it… but with caution. Description is often necessary to understand a situation, but it is also much too often overdone. If you want to start with describing what your character sees at first, that’s fine, but do not describe too much at once. 

Here, I’ll give an example of a good description starter…

The sky in front of her was a beautiful golden color, and the wind on her back felt cool and refreshing, especially after the conversation she had just had. 

And then, instead of continuing on to describe her surroundings… the smell… the taste, I don’t know what else, stop… and put in a line of dialogue or action. If you do go on to make a super long paragraph… then your number of readers will likely dwindle away, and I know I’ll be shutting your book before I even get to page two. Trust me, long descriptions are too boring for the first page, save it for the next chapter. 

So, here’s a good way to continue my last example…

The sky in front of her was a beautiful golden color, and the wind on her back felt cool and refreshing, especially after the conversation she had just had. 
“Kate!” a deep voice from behind her shouted out. 

She rolled her eyes and turned around, her long blonde hair whipping in the wind around her. 

And look at that; I even added a physical character description along with my action line. Which reminds me to make another point… 

If you’re prone to or are addicted to long/ in-depth descriptions, then an easy way for you to get around it in your beginning is to mix it with dialogue and action. You can either do it like I did above (where I mentioned her hair), all in one sentence, or you can alternate, one sentence of description, then one of action/ dialogue, then back to description, then back to action, and so on. 

Okay, so now that I’ve gotten my ordeal with descriptions done, let’s revisit action and dialogue. 

Usually, dialogue is my go-to whenever I start a new story. It really helps put the reader right into the middle of your starting scene, and it’s a fairly quick way to get them there. And, actually… let’s use a varient of my previous example to show you how easy it is to just start right off with speech. 

“Kate!” a deep voice from behind her shouted out. 

She rolled her eyes and turned around, her long blonde hair whipping in the wind around her. 

See what I did there? Or, really… see what I didn’t do there?

I just completely skipped the beginning description and went straight to the dialogue. And, actually, I don’t know about you, but I prefer the way this intro sounds a lot more than the other. 

The same thing goes for action, too.

She stared at the golden sunset in front of her for a long moment. 

“Kate!” a deep voice from behind her shouted out. 

She rolled her eyes and turned around, her long blonde hair whipping in the wind around her. 

That wasn’t a major action line or anything, but it still was a more interesting way to get a little bit of description across. 

Okay, so this was just a really fast, short discussion on the best way to execute the first few lines of your next story, and you can take my advice however you want. In the end, though, you do you, and you decide how to start your story. 

To summarize, though… try dialogue first, then action, and description last. 

Let me know if I helped you come up with some ways to start your next book! Also, if you ever want some specific help with your beginning or ending or… well, anything else, feel free to contact me personally, and I’ll be more than happy to help you brainstorm! 

-iKari 

(P.S… March Madness is a lost cause at this point… Arizona lost! Oh well… next year.) 

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