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Hook, Line, and Sinker: How to Start Your Story

 
 
You have the story idea, a brief outline (or not), and enough motivation and/or preparation to place your fingers on the keyboard and think, Let's begin. But how does one, in fact, begin a story? How do you select the perfect scene to situate your reader without putting him to sleep? It's easy to become overwhelmed by the sea of possible beginnings before having typed a single word. This article provides a list of different ways to begin a story, long or short, pointing out their respective advantages and disadvantages. The right beginning can give you just the push you need to send you flying into the world of your characters.

Prologues

A prologue is a scene or chapter that pertains to the story without featuring your protagonist at the present time. It might show your hero as a child; it might show your antagonist plotting to take over the world; it might show a setting, a historical event, a natural catastrophe that occurs before the story starts. You know how at the beginning of a movie, the camera is zoomed in on a tiny detail before pulling out and revealing the larger picture? We're doing the opposite here.

The use of prologues has always been a subject of debate among writers for one major reason: when not used correctly, they can easily bore the reader. If you think of your prologue as a place to dump your backstory, you're likely to lose your audience. However, if you use it to set the mood of your novel before jumping into a slower, everyday events kind of opening, then (in my opinion) it is a perfectly appropriate beginning.

Action Beginning

I'd like to split the action beginning into two categories.

First, we have the hero action beginning, which is similar to a prologue in that it all happens before the inciting incident. It's the fighting-a-bad-guy-atop-a-moving-train scene (think James Bond here), although it doesn't necessarily need to be gripping. It can also be the waking-up-daily-routine scene. Most importantly, it shows the hero doing what he knows best before being thrust into the story head first.

Second, we have the inciting incident beginning. Who said a set-up was necessary? By beginning with the inciting incident, you're cutting straight to the chase, throwing your hero headfirst into the story alongside your reader. Later on, you can always share glimpses of your protagonist's past. Beginning with action certainly has its perks: there is little risk of boring your reader when you start with a bang. However, you run the risk of confusing him, especially if it turns out that the initial action sequence was all a dream (!). But I'll talk about that a bit later.

In Medias Res

Imagine this: everyone is dead, or kidnapped, or heartbroken, or crying, or rushing into battle. Suddenly, snap! you flashback to the very beginning, and things start to make sense. It isn't starting at the end of the story, but in the middle, in its heart. It's leaving the reader breathless before they even understand what's going on. But then, before they can get too confused, you flashback to the beginning and tell the story chronologically. An example of this would be in Homer's Odyssey, which begins with most of the Odysseus' journey being already over. The story leading up to that point is told through flashbacks.

One of the advantages of this tactic is that the reader has something to look forward to. Once they reach the point in the story with which you began, he experiences a huge rush, a brand new wave of avidity to continue reading the story. Now, for the disadvantages, the major one being that suspense tends to be lacking throughout most of the story, since you already know where the characters will end up in a few chapters. Furthermore, the reader might end up feeling kind of cheated, similarly so when reading a story beginning with a dream.

Although in media res might seem similar to the action beginning, they are not quite the same thing. If you're unsure, ask yourself this question: Does the opening scene take place before or after the inciting incident? If it takes place before or during the inciting incident, it is the action beginning. However, in media res directly translates to "in the middle of things", and so it takes place after the inciting incident.

Dream Scene

I've already complained a few times about the dream beginning; let me explain why. If the start of your story is full of action and suspense, the reader will want you to keep up the pace. Obviously, that's not always possible, but at least in the hero action beginning, all the jumping off buildings and car chases have actually happened. Finding out that it was all a dream comes with a feeling of having been ripped-off, which is of course something you want to avoid. In the end, it's always the writer's decision. If you believe that your story would benefit from beginning with a dream scene, then by all means, go ahead; but know the risks that come with such an opening. Some readers might close a book or delete the story from their inbox the minute the character wakes up.

Flashback

Starting out with a flashback is a great way to introduce your character. An interesting anecdote that shows off a certain aspect of your character's personality gives us a peek into their past and their minds. We feel sympathy for them before they are even thrust into the story. Most importantly, we already start feeling a connection to them, a connection that builds up throughout the story until your reader is as much in love with your protagonist as you are. A strong foundation is a must if you want your reader to be fully invested in your story and characters, and a short flashback that shows the character in action is a good way to build it.

A prologue can be a flashback, although it isn't always one. The flashback gives a more personal feeling than the prologue does; the prologue creates space, whereas the flashback does the opposite. The character is looking back on a past experience, not living it.

Frame Device

A frame device is a story outside your main story, usually introducing a narrator who tells your main narrative to a listener or directly to your reader. It "frames" your story because it most often appears at the beginning and end, and sometimes in the middle. This technique could be interesting if you think it might be difficult for a reader to connect to the setting or characters, for example if you are writing historical fiction or fantasy. Since it does not take place in his reality, he might feel distanced from the story. Adding a separate story closer to his world will help him further relate to the characters or events in the main narrative.

One drawback of the frame device is that most readers will be more interested in the story where the action takes place than the "frame", going as far as perhaps skipping it altogether. Still, a frame device works well if there are major time jumps in your story as well as a remote setting, so it is a good tactic to consider.

An example of this would be in William Goldman's The Princess Bride, in which the main story, featuring pirates and princesses and Rodents of Unusual Size, is interspersed with scenes of the grandfather reading the story to his sick grandson.

Opening Lines

An entirely separate article could be written on the subject of good opening lines and how to write them, but I thought they should be briefly mentioned while we're on the topic of beginning a story. The first and most important rule when crafting the first line of your story is to choose something unique, surprising, and interesting. In short, something that will hook your reader. Pointing out that the sky is cloudy is all right, but it's so much more startling to point out the small object plummeting through the clouds at top speed on a thoroughly uneventful Sunday afternoon. Be specific, be surprising. Once you believe to have found the right line, read it again with a reader's eye, a reader who has thirty other stories waiting to be read today and only has time to pick a few. If you believe he would choose yours, then you have found your opening line.

Hooking your reader is never an easy thing to do. By choosing the right beginning for your story, however, you can easily draw the reader in until they are fully submerged and unable to stop reading. Hopefully this article will help you decide how to start your story the next time you are ready to begin writing, or at the very least, give you an idea of the different possibilities. The perfect beginning can be the motivation the readeror the writer!needs to finish it. Now all you need is the perfect story.

  • Do you often struggle with opening scenes?
  • What is your favourite way to begin a story?
  • What are your thoughts on prologues? On dream scenes? Are there any other "controversial" story beginnings?
  • What kind of opening line will prompt you to read a story?




A guide on the various ways to begin a story for projecteducate's Prose Basics Week. Enjoy!
Add a Comment:
 
:iconcharlottemetalmutant:
CharlotteMetalMutant Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Student General Artist
I've always had problems with the beginning, but once I've started it's hard to stop. The actual story itself was never a problem. I usually keep everything connected in some way.
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Student Writer
That's great! I love it when stories just seem to come together like that. :)
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:iconcharlottemetalmutant:
CharlotteMetalMutant Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015  Student General Artist
Me too. Makes things easier .
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:iconewolf20:
ewolf20 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Not sure if I can make a good prologue
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015  Student Writer
If you can or if a good prologue can be written in general?
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:iconoceanrailroader:
OceanRailroader Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2014
I find starting a story easy but ending it with a sold ending is kind of hard.
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2014  Student Writer
Mmh, perhaps another article idea... ;P
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:icontateetah:
tateetah Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
I personally like opening lines that set you wondering, ask a question, or is a bold statement. Then again, I do like slower, more shocking books that change your ways of thinking, so I don't know if any of those opening lines would work in an action book.
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2014  Student Writer
I think that those kinds of openings could still work really well in an action novel. I suppose it depends on the tone.
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:iconmightymog:
Mightymog Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
     1)   I tend to imagine a good opening scene but the storyline tails off. (Like the attacker is thrown from the train roof after the gripping action, but what happens then? how to they get from there to the important back street  meeting half way through the storyline?)
      2) My favorite way to begin a story is in the action, where the characters are confused, the reader is confused and then the situation is slowly explained through dialogue and surrounding detail.
      3) I hate dream scenes/premonitions unless perfectly executed, and prologues are good but I prefer to learn the back story through the events and observations. ("The way she looked out of the coast reminded him of the time when......")
      4) Humor or action.
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2014  Student Writer
The same thing happens to me! I can often perfectly imagine the opening scene, but what happens after is all blurry.

I like learning backstory that way too, but I think that it's useful to reveal a super important element of backstory in a prologue type thing. I very rarely use this, it's just that I can see it's advantages. :)
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:iconmarcoemma:
MarcoEmma Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014
Thank you for this!! :hug:

In one of my novels I used a Prologue and in the other I'm not entirely sure what I used. :XD: I pointed out that the sky was cloudy, but I made it curious by adding the fact that the protagonist's skin, hair and mood matched the sky.
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014  Student Writer
You're welcome! I don't know, that line would definitely draw me in. ;)
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:iconmarcoemma:
MarcoEmma Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014
Yea, when I show people that story they always comment on the first two sentences. :XD:
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:iconpatrickseanlee:
patrickseanlee Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014
IF a prologue is done well (and yours is), then it is a very dynamic starting point, that by virtue of its introduction outside the storyline, hooks the reader. To say that a young (or old) writer should not employ it is, in my opinion, giving faulty advice. If it DOESN'T work, then you can cut in in rewrite.
I think your "In Media Res" does its job admirably, and part of the reason it succeeds is because you know how to write. You've mastered the basic rules and moved onward.
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you! :)
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:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014   General Artist
What a lovely tutorial! I think you covered most types of beginnings, and presented pro and cons very well. In my quest for fiction writing knowledge, I came across loads of different perspectives and the one that produces most confusion is novice vs experienced writer perspective. This is how prologues or italics or action beginnings or dialogue tags get a bad name. A novice writer will be unable to make them work, and in reviewing other novice writer's work will only confirm this belief, and will declare that they are the wrong thing to do. What I find much mote useful is to find a good representation of what we want to use or achieve and learn from masters how is something done well. Otherwise we are just removing options from our repertoire and also not learning as fast as we should. Admittedly, the more cliche something is, the more experienced a writer needs to be to make it work.
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you so much! I completely agree with every word you said here. :) Writers become biased against certain openings, when it isn't the opening that is the problem, it's most often the writer. A good writer will be able to make any opening scene work (although I'm still skeptical about the dream beginning...). ;) It also depends on the reader; certain readers despise prologues or action beginnings, while some readers love them. Just because a person doesn't like them doesn't mean they're bad. That's like saying that one genre is better just because you, personally, prefer it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
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:iconphotofairy:
photofairy Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014   General Artist
Haha, I do agree with you about the dream beginning. And you're right, every time a story is to be told, it can be done so in countless ways. Even a writer with a developed style might agonise over the decision how to open the book, what tone to set, and this can also vary from chapter to chapter. It's about making a decision and going with it, trying to make it work, I think. :) :heart:
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:iconreyjjj:
ReyJJJ Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
 :iconsethsf4plz: :iconsaysplz: I see something interesting here. You're using language in this entry that implies that every reader is equally worthy of the knowledge; you encourage without.
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you? (I think?) ;P
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:iconraziment:
Raziment Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I struggle getting an artist.
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I would go much further against prologues.

At least part of the problem is that many novice writers think they ought to have them, that their story isn't complete without one. That's just not right. For those writers, it cannot be said too forcefully that they should avoid prologues altogether, as an exercise if nothing else.

Scene-setting before the opening should not be necessary. That's something you do in exposition. The need for a prologue then, is an admission of failure on the part of the writer, that they were unable to bring out in exposition all the necessary information. To that end I tell people who ask that a prologue should be written last, not first as many novice writers do, and only if there's no way to make the story comprehensible otherwise. It should also be as brief as possible. It's asking too much of readers to invest much effort in your world-building before you've even given them a reason to be interested in it.

I think that when you said "action hero" beginning, it led some commentators here to misunderstand you, even though you offer the supporting example of a "waking-up-daily-routine" as action. While that clarifies your intent that's a horrible example: it's about the most boring, cliche opening possible. Combined with "show, don't tell" we end up with story after story that begin by describing, in excruciating detail, the POV character brushing her teeth. Just awful, even if opening with the POV character waking up weren't cliche all by itself.
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Student Writer
I wouldn't think of prologues as failures, exactly, although I think it's a really good idea to only write one at the end, if the writer needs it. The great thing about writing is that there isn't really a "should" or a "shouldn't"; in the end, it depends on the writer. Certain readers will like some things, while others won't. I do agree that prologues are often overused, though, and that many writers use them simply because they think they ought to have one.

Too many stories begin with a character waking up, as you said, but I think that it's possible to defy that cliche by doing something surprising.

Anyway, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! :)
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:iconqueen-soulia:
Queen-Soulia Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I am not a expert but.. I disapprove with action in the beginning, a story is like a river with a waterfall in the end. Adding action soon as possible in a story makes it cheap to me. That is why I never take action movies to seriously. Best way to start a story is to guide them into it, set the mood and make them feel like the world around them vanish.
Then again  like I said I;  not a expert ..
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Student Writer
Haha, well I'm not an expert, either. ;P The waterfall image is an interesting analogy, although I somewhat disagree with you. To me, a story is a roller coaster; it should go up and down throughout the entire story, not just at the end. That would be incredibly boring, I should think. I'd never get through the middle. And depending on the genre, the "mood" that should be set in the opening, as you say, can be a very exciting mood.
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:iconqueen-soulia:
Queen-Soulia Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
If you need action to find a story interesting, that is kinda shallow...
I guess I am a boring person then, I like actual deep stuff rather then cheap action..but all to one other no?
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Student Writer
I completely disagree with you there. "Deep" doesn't mean boring, and "action" doesn't mean shallow or cheap. Stories can be extremely thoughtful and action packed, or at the very least, exciting. Think Les Miserables, or 1984, or Charles Dickens, all riveting stuff that is still extremely thoughtful. An action opening doesn't mean the book is bad quality.

I guess it depends on what we mean by "action": if you mean fight scenes or car chases, then yes, I agree that you don't need those things to make a story interesting. But if by action, we mean stuff happening, then yes, I do need action for a story to be interesting. If the entire novel is a character sitting by a window thinking about things (even if they are very deep thoughts), then I'm bound to be a little bored.
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:iconqueen-soulia:
Queen-Soulia Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I canīt say I am a fan of Les Miserables , or Charles Dickens guess it makes me a bad person.
I am a person who enjoys philosophical "boring no acting" - stuff.  But like I said it is a taste thing.
But you are no expert and you added that right? Because I would rather suggest good books on how to write a interesting story , sorry if that insulted you
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:iconsachi-pon:
Sachi-pon Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i honestly do not like in medias res or action beginning, for these reasons:

-every time i read/watch a story like that, i feel like the writer is manipulating me. "LOOK, I'M TRYING TO HOOK YOU IN SO THAT YOU KEEP READING THE STORY!!! LOOK AT THIS MYSTERIOUS ACTION HAPPENING!! AM I HOOKING YOU IN NOW?!?!?!"

-also, i don't like it because it gives me characters that i don't care about. something bad is happening to the characters, but i don't care because i don't know anything about them.

-another problem is that in medias res and action beginnings are often confusing. i can't tell what's going on and it frustrates me.

i like beginnings that are pretty calm, nothing crazy is going on. i really do not like stories with action, confusion, or chaos at the beginning. and beginnings need to establish the characters' personalities immediately, and also define the setting. so basically, the beginning needs to give me knowledge of the main characters' personalities and the setting so that when interesting events happen to begin the plotline, i understand the story well!
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Student Writer
But every writer is trying to hook a reader, no matter what kind of beginning it is. Even if it isn't action or in media res, the goal is still to grab the reader's interest, so there isn't anything wrong about trying to do just that. I do understand, though, that it can be frustrating when it's just really obvious, but that's a matter of a beginning being done well, not what kind of beginning it is.

I also agree that they can sometimes be confusing, but again, that's the writer's fault, not the opening's fault. ;P I know what you mean about wanting to get to know the characters before stuff starts happening to them, but a good action opening can tell a lot about that person (their job, for instance, or the people they care about).

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
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:iconaldark:
Aldark Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I disagree with the dream scene section. I mean, you can do it in multiple ways.
For instance, in my universe, dreams are very important, and effect reality. My prologue is infact a dream scene, however its a dream scene in which an outside force invades the protagonists dream and attempts to make him realise who he really is, and inform him that big things are going to happen very soon.
sure, perhapse a dream scene where lots of action is happening can be misleading at times, but what if that action is maintained in alot of the story. For instance in Heroes [the series] one of the main characters dreams about himself flying. eventually he obtains that ability in reality. if you do it right, dreams can be a very effective foreshadowing tool.
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Student Writer
If the dream directly impacts reality, and a character's dreams are being "invaded", as you say, I'd characterize that as an action beginning. It could definitely work, because the dream isn't an excuse to add some action without putting the character in any actual danger. Stuff is happening in the real world. ;P

This is just me, but I don't like using dreams as foreshadowing, unless the character has prophetic dreams or something. I just find it really unrealistic. I'm not a big fan of dreams period in literature, because it's so hard to describe your own dream, nevermind a dream that you are intimately sharing with your readers. This is just a personal opinion, though, although I know a lot of readers who likewise groan whenever the author starts describing a character's dream.
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:iconaldark:
Aldark Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I guess its easier to do in comics, which is what I do. haha. You dont so much have to describe it, but rather be able to present it, which can be hard but certainly alot less tolling on the story itself. Less room for describing and more room for actual storytelling.

Although, when an old man comes into your dream to tell you that you have some kind of destiny, thats not exactly action either. =P he is the dream watcher. he makes sure that dreams dont get out of hand and take over reality, and when the universe is in danger, he has the authority to choose an avatar to defend the realm of dreams and prevent catastrophy. [which happens in another story I have in mind, but am not activly working on. lol] But he also has the authority to awaken peoples potential or true selves via dreams and things like that, too. which is what the opening prelude in my current story is - however the main character spends the first chapter wondering what the dream meant, until he meets his first enemy.
I guess the difference between dreams in my universe, and the dreams you have a gripe with, is that yours are simply just that, dreams. You sleep, you dream, you wake up, and thats it. It doesnt really mean anything. Where as its more of a physical thing in mine and effects reality directly, as I said previously. Think of it kind of like the matrix in a way. Depending on what happens you can even die in reality if your spirit dies in the dream realm.

Dreams are also a great chance for symbolism. a mountain or desert representing the difficulty or effort needed to acheive something, a giant monster representing adversity, a sword or tool representing your personal powers and abilities, a cage representing your current inability to act, light and darkness, etc, etc. The psychological posibilities of dreamscaping is quiet immence, esspecially if your story is some kind of psychological thriller or has a heavy theme of psychology. It gives you alot to play with. Alan Wake is a good example. for half the game you dont even know if hes awake, imagining things, or just outright dreaming, which I found pretty cool. You can do alot with dreams, its just a matter of doing it right.
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2014  Student Writer
I agree that for dreams to work, they have to be done right. I can't really say anything, because I don't know much about comics, but I trust your judgement. ;P
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:iconu-r-i:
U-r-i Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Perfect :D
I'm writting a book since four years ago and yet I couldn't start... I just write ideas, features about the characters, but not the story yet. This guide can help me much, thank you very much :heart:
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you! :hug: It means a lot to me. Good luck with your novel! (And yeah, I totally get you. Sometimes, the ideas just keep brewing and brewing, but then you have to force yourself to sit down and write the darn thing. You should try NaNoWriMo. I hear that helps with that sort of thing.) ;)
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:iconu-r-i:
U-r-i Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No problem :meow:

Yes you're right :aww: and search for inspiration even in little things, they can give you great ideas...

I'll try it :D just checking right now, it seems there's very interesting content there :nod:
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Student Writer
I did NaNoWriMo this year, although I sort of cheated because I was writing a musical, not a novel... but my challenge was to finish a project in a month, so I still consider myself a winner, haha. ;)
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:iconu-r-i:
U-r-i Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Amazing, everything went better then, I wonder :icongrin--plz:
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:icondelphsco:
Delphsco Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks, I was never really good at starting stories, this helped a lot. d(^_^o) Although on some occasions when I actually do come up with a way to start a story, it's always before the scene that actually introduces the conflict or before the scene that sets up the plot/story.
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you so much, I'm glad you found this helpful! :D There are a lot of different ways to begin a story, and I think a lot of writers just default to the, well, beginning. But there are so many options, really. It's a lot of fun to think about them all.
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:iconchive-turkey:
Chive-Turkey Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014

Action scenes are a great way to start a story. Patience is a rare thing, long-winded, boring writing is so common. If you can wade through 60 pages of sleepy-nothing and stumble across a somewhat humorous line, it seems really funny--but it probably isn't.

 

Media res is a killer; we know that since we've been fed some decent action and now have to go back in time, IT'S ABOUT TO GET REALLY BORING.

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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Student Writer
That's so true! Jokes do seem funnier after having been thoroughly bored. :)

I have to disagree, though, about in media res; just because it begins in the middle of the action doesn't mean everything before that point will be boring. It all depends on the writer. Anyone can write about boring stuff, even without the in media res beginning; but a good writer can - and should - write about interesting stuff all the time.
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:iconkeali:
Keali Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
:bulletblue: Indeed, I do struggle with opening scenes. And this was a really helpful read. I have two friends, both who are avid readers. And while one liked the way my story began, the other one said she preferred 'in medias res.' 
Personally, I like it when it opens with a sentence, or mild action, before going to more mundane tasks, letting me see more of the world around the character.

:bulletgreen: Since I sort of touched on my fave way to start or read a start, I'll skip to the third question: While I don't mind dream scenes, since I often see these in comic books and tv-shows, introducing the idea that the character in question has a vivid imagination and wishes for a more exciting everyday life. 
However, my least favourite one, is when the character starts the book, by introducing themselves to the reader. In a inner monologue. It's all right if this is done through a different character, reading up from a file report, but that the main character starts with  explaining their name, age, where they live, and their closest friends, it gets annoying. 
It of course depends on how much the main character monologues. If it's simply: "Oh hey, my name is Nick, and this-- is not how I planned to start my morning-" as the "camera" shows that he's discovered there's a stranger, for some weird reason, sitting at his kitchen table, waiting for him to wake up and take on the world with them. 

:bulletyellow: You know, I really can't think of a good line right now. But then again, beginnings never were my strong suite. 
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you! I'm glad you found it helpful; that's all I could have asked for. :D

So only a sentence of action? It must be difficult to find that one perfect sentence, then.

I find certain character introductions annoying. "Show, don't tell" and everything. Like, why are you telling me about yourself when I could just figure it out myself by watching you? Then again, having a character introduce themselves gives us a clear idea of his voice, which could be interesting if the narrator has a very distinct voice. I think that it works if it is done well, but not so much if it's just an info dump.
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:iconterramarmsxiii:
TerramArmsXIII Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
meh, my mind is already geared on how to make my stories work. I write in a strict 10 page chapter font, i just let the flow go and create stuff, i just have the gift that God gave me in order to do this. So i thank him but this is good.

My advice to others is to just get a plan together, do not start until you make sure you are a 100 percent ready and have figured things out.
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:iconguineveretogwen:
GuinevereToGwen Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Student Writer
Maybe not 100% ready. ;P I think I sometimes plan too much, and that can make writing boring. I usually plan up to the 80% mark, but I'm trying to be more spontaneous with my writing.
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:iconterramarmsxiii:
TerramArmsXIII Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
i plan everything! It's the greatest feeling in the world! but then again just going along with is good to, just put pen to paper and go
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:iconarbhin:
arbhin Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2014   Artist
I like to start a story with a bit of reality. A story is mostly composed with 'how it can be'. So in order to get a reader there I mostly try to start with something real. And I try to introduce the reader to what he is about to read further on. With fantasy stories, trees and roads are real. Homes and people (or other habitants) are a good way to start. At least that is what I think. Make it as normal as possible. 
Or try to get your reader directly 'by the throat' by putting an action scene right in front. A crash, the alarm sound, or a cry. 

"A scream tore the silence of the night away. Holding his blankets tight Eron opened his eyes. He felt the sweat on his forehead and realised it was his own voice. He had a nightmare." - is what I call a crash opening.
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