19 September 2017

Story Beginnings

The beginning of your story is the most crucial part. Your story beginning can capture a reader, get him/her to read your story or ...not. The most crucial reader is the editor who gets your submission. If you don't get him/her to read, you won't get others to read. Beginnings are crucial for editors because, sad to say, often editors only read the beginning of a story.

Probably the most common issue we see with stories is authors start the story too soon. Authors want to start at the beginning, but they need to start when the action starts--literally or metaphorically.
Rarely do you want to start with the protagonist being born, waking up, eating breakfast, driving somewhere, arriving at the office, answering the telephone, etc.

As an author myself, I totally understand the urge to start at the beginning. What I do is write those scenes (because I can't seem to help it) but then cut them after I've finished the first draft. I highly recommend looking at your first draft the way you imagine an editor would. What words does your story beginning need? Cut the extras.

A very effective writerly trick can be: giving a little non-chronological telling in the first paragraph of a story. This telling can really hook the reader. For example, The day I died was not a good day. I want to know what happened. Don't you? Consider a little telling.

Good luck with your story beginnings.

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