The introduction of your story or narrative is arguably one of the most important parts of your overall writing. A good introduction hooks the reader into your story, has readers asking questions, and sets up the scene for the rest of your book. With that said, today I am going to introduce you to a few great ways to start off your story!
Start your story with a narrator.
This seems pretty obvious, but it’s a great and simple way to introduce your characters and setting in order to set up the scene for the rest of your story. This type of introduction allows the author to straightforwardly convey the traits and typical life of the important characters.
There are a few things you must keep in mind when writing this kind of introduction. Firstly, consider your narrator: do you want your narrator to be a character of its own, or do you want the narrator to be the protagonist? Secondly, consider the voice. The voice of your character must be consistent throughout your story and if the narrator is the protagonist, it must reflect the personality of your protagonist.
For example, if you consider your character as a strong, free-spirited person, your narrator may declare her strong opinions often. Or, your character may be virtuous, which can be seen when your narrator finds themselves internally conflicted when faced with a situation that tests their personal values.
Start your story with a simple flashback.
Starting your story with a flashback can introduce a key memory that plays a role in the development of your main character, leads to a major conflict later in your story, and/or gives context to the present situation that the main character is in. It is very important that the flashback has some significance that your readers will be able to relate back to.
For example, a story can start out with a flashback of a young boy crying at the funeral of his mother. Fast forward a couple of pages to the present, and you find out the boy has turned into a hostile serial killer. By starting it off with a flashback, you get a glimpse into a major event of the character’s past that has shaped him into his current self. As the story progresses, give your readers more key details that they can connect back to the flashback (perhaps the fact that his mother was murdered).
Start your story with the problem.
Many stories start off in a certain order: introduce the characters and setting, start the rising action, and then reach the climax, where the main character meets their major hurdle. But what if you spice things up and introduce the problem at the very beginning of your book?
Many authors who emphasize a character’s growth start their stories this way. For example, an author may write about a D1 athlete who suffers from a life-changing injury and must remodel their future. Or they can write about a girl who struggles to find her place in the world after her family dies in a tragic accident.
When writing this introduction, it is vital to include a lot of imagery to place the readers in your scene. Remember, this scene is extra important because it not only is your introduction, but it also is your character’s major setback/problem that will shape them in the future. Make sure you write this scene in an active voice instead of a passive one and include dialogue and action instead of simply narrating it.
These are just a few types of introductions that you can use as inspiration when trying to start your story. However, the possibilities are endless! Don’t restrict your introduction choice to just one of the aforementioned. Once you have an idea as to how you want to start your story off, just pick up your pencil (or open a Google Doc) and start writing! Any introduction is as great as the author makes it.
About the Author
Prerana is a rising senior at Enloe High School. Writing short stories has been her hobby for as long as she can remember, and she has even been a finalist in a couple of short story competitions! At school, she is on the executive board of Key Club, a Lead Marshal, and Vice President of Boys & Girls Tutoring Club and International Business Club. Outside of school, Prerana is involved in climate activism, as an Action Fellow for Alliance for Climate Education. She has also been taking vocal lessons in Indian music for the past 12 years. In her free time, Prerana loves to read, go on hikes, watch Netflix, and make montages.