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  1. Jenna_biltz

    Jenna_biltz New Member

    Dec 10, 2014
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    Starting a Story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Jenna_biltz, Dec 10, 2014.

    I'm very new to writing and I'm also very young. I like to write short story's but I always have the same problem, How to start the piece! I have recently started on a slightly longer story than normal and I am having lots of trouble finding out how to start it. I have tried many different ways but I just can't seem to make it good. Does anybody have any suggestions on how to get started? What should the first chapter be about? And what should the first sentence be like?
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Mar 9, 2010
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    I don't think that you need to worry about the exact start until the piece is written. When you're done, you may realize that your real beginning is six pages in, or you may realize that you need to add some material to the beginning. Just pick an early moment in the story and get started.
    Tesoro and Renee J like this.
  3. Swiveltaffy

    Swiveltaffy Contributing Member Contributor

    Jul 4, 2014
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    Roanoke, TX
    To quote a terrible and corny Bruce Dickinson song, "Dive! Dive! Dive!"
  4. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Dec 30, 2010
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    I ditto ChickenFreak. Just write. The opening tends to change quite a bit anyway once you've finished the piece, so it's not worth agonising too much over it in the beginning.

    As for the first sentence - opt for easy to read. Opt for something that would convey the tone of the rest of the novel. Don't use an attention grabber for attention grabbing's sake because then your book wouldn't be able to live up to its promise and reader expectations. In the absence of something truly hooking, always go for an easy-to-read sentence. Because if it's easy to read, likely the reader will just keep reading :D But if it's all convoluted, likely the reader will put the book down.

    Another thing is, this is your rough draft. It doesn't have to be good. That's why you edit and rewrite :) Allow yourself to write utter crap first. It's like art - a sculptor doesn't sit down and carve the eye of a face to perfection and only then move onto the nose and mouth etc. A sculptor roughly carves out the general positions of the features where at the end of it, nothing looks good but you have a general impression of what it's supposed to be, with some guiding lines for further development. And then you start to shape and put in the detail. It's similar to writing. The rough draft is usually just the skeleton. Don't expect it to be too impressive - make it as good as you can but don't worry if it's not great or perfect. The truth is, by the time you're finished with the story, you'll probably have improved so much that on looking back, you'll be much more likely to edit it well than if you just agonised over it and kept deleting things. Allow yourself the process of improving by actually writing.
  5. aguywhotypes

    aguywhotypes Active Member

    Jul 24, 2013
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    Millersburg, Ohio, United States
    It was a dark and stormy night.


    start where the action is.
    peachalulu likes this.
  6. Lancie

    Lancie Contributing Member

    Oct 20, 2014
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    Exactly, just write. The plot and the characters don't have to be exact blueprints at this stage as long as you know roughly what you'd like to write about. Don't be afraid to scrap bits and start again and don't worry about making it 'good' at this stage. Maybe keep a note book of ideas and flesh them out as you go. Take inspiration from other novels or stories you enjoy and make them your own. Write what you know and what you find interesting. The rest will follow.
  7. peachalulu

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    May 20, 2012
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    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I like to put my characters in the middle of doing something. No backstory, no build up. It's like the reader has just entered a scene already in progress. I find that by doing that the reader can learn more about the character because he'll be paying more attention to the details that fill in the usual reader questions - like where am I, and who am I.

    I think in terms of setting - where is the character?, action - what is he doing?, and interest - what is the catalyst, problem or hindrance that can make his/her action more interesting?

    Sometimes I think of a sentence that can convey some information and interest about my characters -
    For instance say I want to do a ya story about a young vampire girl who moves to a new town and meets a hunky vampire slayer. Where to start? Maybe - Father is reassembling my coffin. Something juicy that I can spin into a scene.
    DeadMoon likes this.
  8. Tesoro

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 3, 2011
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    A place with no future
    Start with change, or threat of change, in the characters life. Start with the first domino that makes all the others tip.
    DeadMoon and peachalulu like this.
  9. Michael Pless

    Michael Pless Active Member

    Dec 16, 2014
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    I think the "just get stuck into it" advice is pretty good. Often first chapter sets the main location or in the case of a hero's journey, the starting location. Once you start and progress a little, you may very well decide the story truly starts some way into your writing. That doesn't mean the first bits are no good, they may help you with background for characters or location, and could, if necessary, be rewritten to be added later on. I'm working on my second novel and using the scene structure promoted by Author's Salon, which I downloaded, along with some other stuff from their website.

    The first sentence needs a "hook" - something to draw the reader in and encourage them to read on. Sentence one of my first novel: "Solace Conlon murdered."; the first sentence of my second novel: "The little boy screams." This doesn't mean the first sentence needs to be short, just interesting in its own right.
  10. SwampDog

    SwampDog Contributing Member

    Mar 5, 2013
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    Back in Blighty
    Read. Read. Read. Write. Study your favourite authors. Analyse what keeps you reading. Write.

    Rinse and repeat.
  11. Link the Writer

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Sep 24, 2009
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    Alabama, USA
    Take a look at this:

    Replace 'show' with 'first draft' and follow that advice. :D

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