Questions tagged [openings]

One dark and stormy knight, no scratch that, we can do better.

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184
votes
9answers
18k views

“Dear Stack Exchange, I am very disappointed in you” - How to construct a strong opening line in a letter?

In light of recent events, I intended to write a simple letter of complaint to StackExchange. The obvious thing to do would be to write an opening with the fact such as It came to my knowledge that ...
52
votes
10answers
15k views

How can I write an attention-grabbing first line?

So, the beginning of any story needs to capture the attention of the reader, so he continues and wants to find out what's happening. A Confederacy of Dunces starts "A green hunting cap squeezed the ...
50
votes
12answers
11k views

How to trick the reader into thinking they're following a redshirt instead of the protagonist?

I'm currently planning a "magical girl" story, and I thought of an interesting way to start it, rather than launching straight into the backstory. It opens with a woman in her mid-thirties, complete ...
36
votes
8answers
8k views

Is the first page of a novel really that important?

I am reading in a few blogs like this that the first page of the novel is really important if it has to get published. Is this true? Can a good story not compensate for an ordinary first page. I have ...
19
votes
11answers
5k views

How to derive a first sentence from a story?

There is much advice out there on "how to write a killer opening line". Usually these blog posts or how-to-write book chapters list examples of first sentences from recognized masterworks or group ...
18
votes
8answers
3k views

How to open a novel?

Looking at the function of the beginning of a novel, it is clear that it should hook the reader and draw him or her into the story. Different techniques for achieving the hook have been described, ...
14
votes
7answers
7k views

Why is “It was a dark and stormy night..” not a good opening?

Also, why has it spawned an award for bad writing?
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Should I describe a character deeply before killing it?

So, I have this little story I would like to tell. It's about a girl and how she's forced to take a journey with the man who has just killed her father. I'll skip the details. The point is I'm not ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

How to avoid introduction cliches

I'm writing a research paper in one of my math classes about the P vs NP problem. I feel the introduction to my paper sounds like a cliche. This is my intro: In the field of mathematics, there are ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

How do you drop a reader in the middle of nowhere at the beginning of a story?

My story begins with a little girl waking up in a creepy and probably very haunted house in the middle of nowhere. She has no memories of how she got there, what happened or what the place even is, ...
11
votes
8answers
1k views

How to think of a good beginning?

I've been thinking about my story for a while now and the problem I've run into is that I'm not sure how to start it. It isn't that I can't think of how to start it, I actually have a million ideas ...
11
votes
4answers
401 views

How do you deal with Chapter 2 when Chapter 1 is a volcano opening?

I know the logic behind volcano openings and why they’re problematic (they set the expectation that that level of action and excitement will continue; they’re a hard act to follow; they make a promise ...
9
votes
8answers
814 views

The problem with beginning

I don't mean "sitting down to write", I mean the literal beginning. The story itself starts with my protagonist running. I need to get him to run, then I'll have the rest of it sorted. But won't ...
8
votes
6answers
710 views

Building a scene and readability

When building a scene at the beginning of a chapter for instance, before character interactions take place, what are the important elements to consider, and how long should the description be, before ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What are the pros and cons of starting a novel with internal dialogue?

I'm thinking about starting a novel by having the first sentence be internal dialogue. What are the potential problems this could raise? What are the benefits? By internal dialogue I mean something ...
8
votes
4answers
312 views

Critique: Intro/Prologue to my Novel-in-Progress

all. Please forgive me, for I'm afraid I'm a novice when it comes to writing fiction. I wanted to get the community's thoughts and recommendations for improving the below passage. I realize it ...
7
votes
4answers
633 views

Does my first paragraph grab your attention?

I'm working on a new M/M romance novel about a guy who's trying out nudism and an experience nudist. Does my opening paragraph succeed in drawing in the readers attention and making them curious? Does ...
7
votes
2answers
192 views

Abandoning the Ordinary World

As I understand it, when considering the Three-Act Structure, the first half of Act One prior to the Inciting Incident is used to show the reader the 'Ordinary World'. In the story I am working on, I ...
6
votes
5answers
310 views

What is the structure and important points to cover in a first chapter?

I feel like I have everything except the first chapter; once the story is underway I feel like I know where to go, but I'd like some guidance in getting it all started when the reader knows nothing at ...
6
votes
3answers
537 views

Prologues with no protagonist - How can they work?

It is my understanding that novels should generally start right off with the protagonist. The story is about the protagonist, after all, not something else (This obviously changes a bit if the PoV is ...
6
votes
3answers
194 views

First Chapters protocol

I am a first time novelist with writing experience. I have an idea for my novel that begins with an important scene which actually plays out in the middle of the novel. Should I write this as a ...
5
votes
5answers
321 views

Does this entice the reader to continue? [closed]

This is the beginning of my science fiction book that I am currently writing. I tried to be more specific, but without giving away the full idea. I might have failed at that. I wanted to know if this ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

How Can You Use “In Medias Res” To Beautify Your Amazing Masterpiece? [closed]

How do you write out the second build up without killing the essence of the masterpiece? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Medias Res?
5
votes
3answers
231 views

Translating worldbuilding into an interesting opening

I've once heard there are 2 types of writers, and I am definitively an architect. I can write down a few hundred pages of worldbuilding and characters, but I scrap most of my stories after the first ...
5
votes
1answer
85 views

Using a different POV just for the opening line

I'm currently working on a short story with a dramatic "twist" ending. I use the quotation marks because, unlike a conventional plot twist aimed at surprising the reader, the intended target of the ...
4
votes
3answers
306 views

Does this opening somewhat grip the reader? [closed]

I took the advice of very helpful people on my last question. I considered many possibilities to start my book, but I chose this one. This is only a snippet of my opening. I am going for a strong ...
4
votes
5answers
348 views

Opening a story with a reference to what someone just said followed by a setting description

An example: Naomi's words hung in the air as I gazed out of the hotel window. The mountain lay quietly in the dark, like a calm, sleeping giant. A cluster of city lights glittered beyond. In ...
4
votes
3answers
112 views

How to open a serious speech?

I need to speak at the unveiling of a memorial plaque (this one, incidentally). I have an idea of what I want to say, and how I want to arrange it. My struggle is with the opening. I have spoken in ...
3
votes
3answers
626 views

Does this beginning hook the reader? [closed]

Guide lines Q no. 4: This is supposed to be the opening part, but certainly not the whole of the first chapter or page for that matter... I'm not exactly sure anyone would take 30 seconds to read that,...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Is my opening chapter too short?

I've just started writing my first proper novel, I've written short stories and started to write before, but never really had the motivation, but now I have a new, interesting storyline to write about,...
3
votes
3answers
465 views

How to improve this introductory paragraph (to fit writing standards and grab the reader's attention)?

A clock is striking 4:00am at a psychiatric clinic. The darkness, the silence, and absence of people makes it look like a morgue. A young mental health professional is sitting in a chair ...
3
votes
2answers
247 views

Alternatives to starting a sentence with well [closed]

I'm new to narrative writing and especially have trouble with dialogue. I too often am using the word well to start a character's sentence after receiving some information to then ask a question about ...
3
votes
2answers
7k views

Opening paragraphs of a short story set in an aquarium

I'm writing a short story about a schoolgirl who is visiting an aquarium (this setting is connected with her past and with the conflict of the story). Sophia found herself walking through a glass ...
3
votes
1answer
741 views

How well would this beginning sell the book to readers? Not necessarily for money [closed]

Disclaimer: English isn't my native language. A while back, I posted this and this. I got... well, reviews. While not outright helpful (ie. indirect, which is the whole point of critiques, I guess) ...
3
votes
2answers
257 views

Am I providing enough information to keep the reader gripped?

This is the opening of a short story I'm writing (second draft): A deep silence enveloped the room as the words escaped from my mouth. I turned to the side to look at Akiko. She was staring ...
3
votes
1answer
80 views

How to introduce the content of my essay (for IELTS) to my reader?

Is it okay to use the phrase “This essay will discuss” in the introduction? I was told by my tutor that I have to refrain from using it because it is too “mechanical”. Is there any way that I can make ...
2
votes
4answers
14k views

Is the opening of this story intriguing, “dark” and smooth? [closed]

Disclaimer: I'm not an Native English Speaker. This is my fifth attempt of writing a short story (the previous ones are set in the same "universe" as this one). I would like to know if the reader ...
2
votes
4answers
173 views

Having Trouble Writing An Opening Scene With A Shy Character

I'm having a bit of trouble coming up with the opening scene for a fantasy story I'm writing, about a mousy but passionate girl from a family of entertainers who inherits the entertainer's blood. She ...
2
votes
4answers
426 views

How many pages should cover the Ordinary World of the Protagonist?

How many pages and chapters should cover the Ordinary World also known as the normal world of the Protagonist? Ordinary World is the term used in the Hero's Journey for the ordinary world the hero ...
2
votes
5answers
418 views

Hooking the reader by omitting a piece of information

I'm writing a short story. I decided to opening it in the following way: We were in Y, doing Z when she mentioned X. I wasn't sure whether she had misheard X's name or had gotten the wrong place...(...
2
votes
3answers
360 views

Does this urge you to read further or stop? [closed]

I was wondering if this opening of my book enticed readers to read further. The book is a dystopian novel. This is NOT a complete chapter, it is only a part of it. Please leave comments on how I can ...
2
votes
4answers
112 views

Does this opening relate to the message? [closed]

This is now my third attempt of writing the opening of my book. I took What's advice and tried to send a message to the readers. the message was: What makes us strong is our courage. In the story, ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Writing a punchy paragraph opening / beginning

I am writing a paper and always want to find ways to write a punch opening for my paragraph. I'm not sure how to take an informative paragraph and find an exciting lead-in that will encourage the ...
1
vote
2answers
883 views

Do these starting paragraphs make you want to keep reading? [closed]

OK, first, I'm not a native. So, what you do by instinct and a bit of research, I do by extensive research, including accents and dialog style. I’m dead. ‘But you have a chance,’ I was told, ‘...
1
vote
6answers
1k views

Does my story beginning hook the reader? (dialogue + narration)?

The following is the opening of a short story I'm writing: Erin stared at Ruth, eyes narrowed. "There was an earthquake last night?" Ruth nodded. "Around 9p.m. The news says it was a 4.3 ...
1
vote
3answers
201 views

When opening a book

I hear a lot of things about how one should give the name of their character early in the writing setting etc. My question is is it ok not to name your character, not to be specific about your setting ...
1
vote
2answers
577 views

Will this opening and dialogue grab the reader's attention? And how can I improve it?

Disclaimer: I'm not an native English speaker Here is the first part of a short novel I'm writing. For the description I wanted the reader to have an idea of the place first and then let him know ...
1
vote
2answers
413 views

How to improve/fix this short introductory paragraph and dialog?

These are the things that I want for this introductory paragraph: Grab the reader's attention Create a melancholic and dark atmosphere Inside was dark with just enough light to see shapes, and ...
1
vote
2answers
52 views

Delerium too much like a dream?

My novel starts with the character believing she is outside, naked, because she is delerious. After less than a page she realizes where she really is. She was delerious because she fainted and she ...
0
votes
3answers
144 views

Trying to avoid being cliché

Has opening a story with something like "I hurtled to my death", "I had destroyed the earth", or other outlandish statements like these become cliché? And if so, what are some alternative methods to ...