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Answered 2012-06-03 12:48:18
  1. exposition on setting (The night was dark and stormy...)
  2. exposition on character (She was a tall gorgeous blond with legs that went on forever.)
  3. exposition on Plot (We went into Panama with guns loaded. I was number 5.)
  4. establishing narrator (Hello my name is Charlie Gordon and Doctor Strauss told me...)
  5. philosophy (It was the best of times it was the worst of times.)
  • Dialogue
    • Argument - "GET OUT!"
    • Arrangement - "When shall we three meet again?"
    • Question - "Why is there a gun in your back pocket?"
  • Description
    • Setting - On and on the road wound, to the edge of the world
    • Character - He sat at his desk, head in hands, wretchedness written on every line of his body
  • Little bit of action that seems irrelevent but interesting at the start but will turn out to be vitally important

For a story, you need a slightly different sort of opening than you do for an academic paper, where you introduce your topic.

In a story, you need to introduce your character and/or your situation in a catchy way, so the reader will keep on reading.

Here are some tips:

  1. Start in the middle of some kind of action - don't start off with the background, or the explanation, or a description! Start right in the thick of things, and you can add all the rest once you hook the readers' interests.
  2. Show, don't tell - this means have your characters doing something, not just standing around talking!
  3. Describe the action so that it makes a movie in the reader's head.

Here are some famous story openers - you can see how they catch your interest.

  • Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. - Gabriel García Márquez
  • If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. - J. D. Salinger
  • Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu.
  • There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. - C. S. Lewis

You must start your story however you want to. You cannot write a story that some anonymous person on the internet decides is a good story. You're the writer! Write what you are interested in, because that's the only story you're going to want to write.

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