Posted by Alex Alexander • February 16, 2016
Being able to write a great beginning for your story is crucial, especially for fiction writers, because if the first chapter of your book doesn’t grab the attention of your readers, they will most likely not read any further.
Equally as important, agents and editors often decide whether or not to pass on a book based on just the first page or two. A weak opening can kill your hopes of getting your novel published. So here are some tips to help you ace that great beginning to your story.
A great story begins with a great beginning
Here are some techniques you can use to write a great beginning for your story:
In a mystery, it’s a good idea to have the murder happen in the first chapter so the reader will be anxious to learn who the murderer is, their motive and how they committed the murder.
In a suspense story the reader should be anxious to find out what is going to happen next, which is why you want to have something really exciting happen in the first chapter. Make the first chapter a cliff hanger to force the reader to move on to the next chapter, and so on.
Keep your readers intrigued and interested throughout your book, but mainly during the first chapter. In most cases this will be the determining factor on whether or not they go any further.
What can a great opening achieve?
Great story beginnings can achieve several things including:
Your story doesn’t have to do all of these things or even most of them, the important thing is to hook the reader with the beginning of your story.
The beginning to your story will be much more effective if it includes an event. An event is an irreversible change in the story that sends the characters in a new direction and makes the reader wonder what will happen next.
Start things happening right away, don’t give your readers a chance to wonder if anything is ever going to happen in the book because of preamble. One way to avoid preamble is to begin in the middle of the action. Start with the event already in progress.
Another point to make is that not every story needs to start at the beginning. Sometimes, if the start of your story is a little weak, you can compensate by starting at a more interesting point in the story, with a flash forward, and then go back and tell the begining later.
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