I am working on a 12-book-series set on a different, Earth-like planet. The setting is much like Earth in 1992. It tells the story of a three-year-old prince with supernatural abilities who is mistreated by those who fear him. Much of the narrative recounts his live and that of his siblings inside and outside the palace. Some of the characters are children of different ages, others are adults.

I don't know how to begin the books and struggle with the first sentences. So far I have had characters waking up in the morning, but if I do that in every book it might get boring.

How do I find gripping openings that are not always the same?

  • 1
    Welcome to Writing.SE! We can help you come up with ideas yourself, but we can't and won't come up with them for you.
    – F1Krazy
    Apr 8 at 20:59
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    The least you can do is tell us the main theme. Your question is much too open ended...
    – Lambie
    Apr 8 at 22:23
  • What age group are you writing for?
    – Ben
    Apr 9 at 4:50
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    Oh, and please take the time and make the effort to correctly punctuate your questions on this site. As a writer, I'm sure you know your orthography, and if you can't be bothered to type commas and full stops that seems a bit disrespectful towards those who you expect to give of their time to help you.
    – Ben
    Apr 9 at 5:13

1 Answer 1


Most children's books typically begin with a scene that both shows what the life of the protagonist(s) has been like until then and foreshadows some of the changes to come.

For example, the first volume in the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton, Five on a Treasure Island, begins with the family sitting at the breakfast table and discussing their summer holiday. We learn the names of everyone and that usually the family spends their summers at Polseath. So that's their everyday live up until then. But today their parents tell Julian, Dick and Anne that they will be going to their cousin Georgina this summer, because the parents want to spend this summer without their children. And that's the inciting incident and the foreshadowing of the adventures to come.

Most Middle Grade books open in this or a similar manner. Theodore Boone – Kid Lawyer by John Grisham tells us in its first sentence that "Theodore Boone was an only child and for that reason usually had breakfast alone". The book continues to tell us of his parents in the first paragraph, then Theodore's typical morning routine is shown. Two pages later Theodore meets his first "client" who tells him of her problems and Theodore decides to help her. This is the inciting incident. And the adventure begins.

The exact opening scene for an individual book will depend on the characters and what their normal life is like as well as on the type of adventure that the book recounts. I suggest that you read some popular and bestselling children's books for your age category to learn how other authors begin their books. A good approach could be to pick a few series and see how the differnt books in the series vary their beginning and how the respective opening related to the story of that particular book. You may not have to read every book but can peruse summaries like those on Wikipedia or reviews on Goodreads or Amazon to get a rough idea of the story. The openings of the books can often be read on Amazon and sometimes on the websites of the publishers or through Google Books.

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