how to write story beginnings

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Story Beginnings

Hey, guys, and welcome to another Tween Fiction Girl post! Even though I’ve only ever finished two or three stories (GOOD stories, like the kind that other humans can read, that is) I’ve started to write many, many more than that. I have a whole folder on my computer devoted to stories and ideas. Even though few of these make it past Chapter 2, there’s one part that’s written in every book: the beginning.

While climaxes and action – maybe even endings – are way more fun to write, the beginning of the story may just be the most important part of every book or story that’s ever been written down. Every book is different, of course, but there’s a few things that every beginning must do.
– They must draw the reader into the story. If your beginning is stale or boring, the reader will struggle to get through it, and they’ll almost definitely lose hope and stop reading.
– They must give the reader necessary information about the premise of the story. Try to describe your main characters, but don’t go into TOO much detail; endless words about every thread of everything the character is wearing and every detail about every aspect of their body may be nice for you to imagine, but no one wants to read that. Don’t go into the extreme, either – give the reader some information about the surroundings of the main character, or it’ll be difficult to get into the mood of the book.
– They must introduce the mood of the story. Getting the reader to keep reading and telling them what’s happening around them is a great start, but giving them all the details of the world isn’t enough to get your story started. Tell them what they need to know about the story – the characters, the problem, the culture surrounding the setting. Is this a sad story, or a happy story? Scary, or funny? Make sure that’s clear early on.

Of course, beginnings can change. While you’re writing the rest of the story, all the beginning has to do is get you involved. As long as you won’t lose interest, it’s great. For now.

But, after the first draft of the story is written, you’ll likely want to go back and change it. Imagine it from the point of view of someone who’s just getting to know the world you’ve created. Is there information about the characters that doesn’t fit in with what the rest of the story says, or maybe it should be revealed later? Does it seem boring and droning, or does it leap into the action without enough setup at the beginning? If something seems wrong, fix it.

Of course, it’s not a good idea to jump straight from writing the ending of the book to writing the beginning. Let it sit for a little while first. If you’re still in the mood that writing the ending put you in, wait a little while. If your book starts out happy and winds up sad, you want to make sure that you’re capable of writing an actually happy beginning before jumping into it. Make sure the mood of your story flows, or the beginning will seem as out of place as it did if there were flaws in the actual writing of it.

As with any part of the story, make sure the grammar is accurate and readable. Vary the length of your sentences. Add some short ones here and there, or put a long one every paragraph or so. It’ll make the wording seem more natural and easy to understand, thus letting your reader get through it more easily.

If your story’s beginning meets these recommendations, then congratulations! You’re well on your way to writing the world’s next bestseller. Keep going!!

Remember, if you want to see a TFG post about a specific subject, you can always suggest one here. As always, thanks so much for reading!!!

~ Summer

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