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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lesson 7 - How to begin your story


Instead of starting your story in the "Once upon a time" kind of way, try one of these six ways to make it more interesting:

1. Dialogue

Choose interesting dialogue, not the 'hello" or "good morning" type of dialogue.


"Eighteen million dollars! Are you sure?" Mary queried, her eyes big in wonder.

"Without a doubt," grinned Peter, his teeth whiter than snow.

2. Climax

Instead of starting your story at the beginning, you could start in the middle of some exciting action, like a fight or a fire. Remember that you will have to go back to describe what happened before that, or the reader might get confused.

There was a sudden panic everywhere. People were running around shouting incomprehensibly. Some were crying with their hands in the air. Others were crouched on the ground as if their lives were over.

3. Question

A question is similar to a dialogue but it occurs in the character's head.

  • Should I tell her?
  • What am I doing here?
  • What should I do now?
4. Proverb or Quotation

Find a proverb or quotation that sums up your story and generates interest in your reader.

  • Desperate times call for desperate measures.
  • Never let the right hand know what the left hand is doing.
  • Every cloud has a silver lining.
5. Flashback

Talk about something relevant that happened in the past that will be interesting for the reader to know.

The exact same thing had happened five years ago. Sammy still remembered that day very clearly. It was the day the women came home with their hearts full of sorrow. They ...

6. Description

This is especially useful for stories that need a particular kind of mood or atmosphere.

It was a dark and quiet night. The moon was hiding behind the clouds and smoke was rising from the ground. Never had a night been this still or silent before. Not a sound could be heard - no toads, no crickets, no owls. No life.


Now, it's your turn :) Think of any story that you would like to write and experiment with the different ways to begin your story. Try at least 3 of them and post them in the comment box below!


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