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How to Start a Story


Ask any professional writer which part of the story takes the longest to write, and he would most likely tell you that the beginning is the hardest part. Indeed, the beginning of the story should be catchy and make a reader want to continue turning pages. At the same time, it shouldn't be too wordy because unlike novels, stories are usually short, which means you don't have a lot of room for too detailed and wordy scenes. Here are some common tips for starting a story.


Obviously, you should make up your mind on the plot by the time you start writing. Particularly, you want to know what your characters are like and also think about the key moments of the story. Remember that any story consists of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. After that, you have 3 ways to go:



You can start with a brief description of your characters or the situation that caused the rising action. Obviously, you want to reveal your characters' peculiarities sooner or later, and this "prehistory" option means you devote a whole block of your story to introducing the characters and backgrounds. As you know, the "rising action" and the "climax" are the events that split your characters' lives into "before" and "after"; this is something that breaks their habitual lifestyles and makes them do what they do. The good thing about the "prehistory" technique is the fact that you can emphasize the power of the conflict by introducing their life before the fateful event. When you start a story with a short prehistory, the conflict literally blows your reader's mind, and as far as the readers already know what the characters are like, they start to empathize with them.


Start at the beginning

In your case, the beginning is the conflict that changes your character's habitual environment. Thus, you can choose to start the story right off the bat. For example, if this is a detective story, start with the description of a murder or with the scene where the detective sees the crime scene for the first time. This method helps you capture your reader's attention from the very first lines and also saves you some room for the following action. However, the characters lose your readers' sympathy because they know nothing about the heroes.


Start with the ending

This is also a popular trick that is often used in movies. Basically, you start with the resolution without going into details, and proceed with your story describing the sequence of events that lead your characters to that happy/bitter end. The only requirement for this technique is a really bright and catchy ending that can make a reader want to know why it ended up like this.


  • Don't go into too many details when you start with a prehistory. You don't want your reader to get bored.
  • If you start with the rising action or climax, don't forget to reveal the characters. For example, describe their reaction on the same event to contrast them with each other.



Most authors spend a lot of time figuring out the beginning of the story. Our article shows that starting a story is not that difficult. Write the first sentence, and the story will unfurl like lotus flower before you know it. Choose one of the suggested scenarios and complete your story in no time.

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