Openings: How to Start a Story

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The very start of a story is the writer's chance to grab the reader. Fail to entrance the reader with your opening sentence and paragraph and your desired reader may be lost forever. What should you do? Quietly lure in the reader? Shock them with something sensational or unexpected?

The resources we have collected will help you learn mroe about what makes a great and effective start to a story.

You can find more resources for creating fiction in our fiction writing links section.

How to Start a Story Without a Bang
Learn how to craft an opening for your short story or novel that will intrigue your reader.

If You Whisper, Convince.
Alex Keegan explains how simple word choices, context, timing and presentation can make your writing hum through examples of story openings.

Literature's Greatest Opening Paragraphs
A collection of great opening paragraphs from ShortList including the opening from Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, "It was a pleasure to burn."

Seven Types of Short Story Openings
This article from io9 describes seven different types of short story openings and give examples.

Stephen King Opening Sentences
A list of amazing opening sentences from dozens of Stephen King's novels.

Ten Ways to Start Your Story Better
Author Jacob M. Appel explains ten different ways you can use to start your story better. He notes that "small hooks catch more fish than big ones."

Top Opening Lines in Children's Books
The article has a big collection of the 100 best opening lines from children's books.

Top Openings: 100 Best First Lines from Novels
Study this amazing list of opening lines from American Book Review to get an idea for what really draws in the reader.

Why Stephen King Spends Month or Years on Opening Sentences
An article in The Atlantic explains why Stephen King spends months or years on opening. King says an opening should say, "Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this."