How to Start a Story – 8 Ideas to Get Started!

Are you struggling with how to start a story?

Starting a story can be both an exciting and challenging endeavor. The beginning sets the tone for the rest of the story, grabs the reader’s attention, and introduces key elements that will become important later on. Here are some techniques and approaches to consider when starting your story:

Types of Story Openings

  1. The Hook: Start with an action or situation that immediately grabs the reader’s attention.

Example: “The building was on fire, and it wasn’t my fault.”

  1. Dialogue: Open with an intriguing conversation that poses questions for the reader.

Example: “Do you think people will still like us when we’re old and wrinkly?” she asked.

  1. In Media Res: Begin in the middle of a scene, skipping introductions and getting straight to the point.

Example: She ducked just in time, feeling the rush of wind as a blade swished above her head.

  1. Descriptive Setting: Start by vividly describing the setting, creating atmosphere and mood.

Example: It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals.

  1. Character Introduction: Begin with an interesting or detailed description of one of your main characters.

Example: Mr. Johnson was not your average history teacher, from his tattooed forearms to his penchant for heavy metal music.

  1. Question: Start with a question to engage the reader’s curiosity.

Example: What would you do if you found a suitcase filled with a million dollars?

  1. Theme or Philosophical Statement: Begin with a sentence that encapsulates the theme or a philosophical element of the story.

Example: In our family, love was a term used as a manipulation tool.

  1. Flashforward or Flashback: Use a moment from the future or the past as your opening scene.

Example: Looking back, I never would have guessed that a simple walk in the park would change my life forever.

Tips for Starting Your Story

  • Be Clear: The opening should not be so complex that it confuses the reader.
  • Set the Tone: Make sure your opening aligns with the overall tone and genre of your story.
  • Introduce Conflict: Early hints at the central conflict can be very engaging.
  • Be Brief: Don’t get bogged down with too much information. Aim to move the story forward.
  • Revise: Often, you won’t know the best way to start until you’ve written the middle and the end. Don’t be afraid to come back and revise your opening.
  • Test It: Read your opening out loud, and consider how it sounds. Also, seek feedback from others to gauge its effectiveness.
  • Ignore the Pressure: If you’re stuck, just start writing. You can always revise later. Sometimes the best way to find the perfect beginning is to start writing the not-so-perfect one.

Remember, the beginning serves as an invitation to the reader. It should intrigue, inform, and set the stage for what’s to come. No matter which method or technique you choose, the key is to engage your reader so they want to continue on this journey with you.

Be sure to check out our descriptive essay topics, narrative essay topics, and writing prompts!