How Do I Start My Story?

Dear Writer Guy,

I am making this one story about a girl who has to leave her best friend, and I don’t know how to start it. Can you please give me some suggestions?

Sincerely,
Maddie

Dear Maddie,

Grabbing the reader’s attention on the first page is one of the most important parts of storytelling. Here are five ideas on how to hook a reader from the start:

  • Use a provocative question. “Where’s Papa going with that ax?” is the question that kicks off Charlotte’s Web. Awesome beginning.
  • Use humor. “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck” is the opening of Feed. Another slam-bang start.
  • Plunge into the middle of action. No examples spring to Writer Guy’s mind, but this is a method that keeps things lively. You can always explain what’s happening after you hook your readers.
  • Use surprise. Anything unexpected grabs the reader.
  • Use foreshadowing. (That’s a fancy writerly word for hinting at something that will happen later in your story.) Foreshadowing is especially important if your story is slow and boring at the beginning but gets exciting later.

Here’s some foreshadowing that opens my book, Prince of Underwhere:

“If we hadn’t run from the spies, I might never have discovered Underwhere. (The place, not the tighty-whities. I already know about those.) Then I would never have had to walk like a zombie, lead a midget revolution, and cut a mighty cheese in a castle. Which would mean, of course, I wouldn’t be battling the evil billionaire rapper and his mutant dinosaurs.”

Have fun with your story,

Writer Guy

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