Creating and publishing a book the right way

5 Bad Methods for Starting a Story

5 Bad Methods for Starting a Story

There are lots of methods out there for starting a story. There are a few dozen good ones, but there are also some bad ones that are going to make it more difficult to get readers to read your piece or get anyone to publish it. In this article, we’ll go over five of the ways to start a story that are not recommended. This is due to the clichéd nature of the opening, the lack of viability to create a compelling narrative or some other objection from the majority of writers and editors out there. If you want a more in-depth article on how to start a story, check out Reedsy. Anyway, let’s take a look at these five methods.

The Dream Sequence

The dream sequence is a terrible place to start a story. If you begin with any sort of action or narrative that results in the person waking up and finding out that it was all a dream, you are going to have major problems getting your story published. This is been done so often and so badly that editors simply do not want to see this at all.

The Waking Moment

Having the alarm clock go off or having the person wake up for some other reason to begin a story is a terrible place to start. The reason that this opening does not work is because someone starting their day is not exciting at all. Plus, this is a common method of starting a story for those who are just beginning the writing process and editors will likely not want to read any further when they see this.

Too Much Description

Starting a story with too much description can be deadly to your story. If you are describing everything from the weather to the way that the gravel crunches beneath someone shoes, going on for paragraphs and paragraphs, then you are going to lose all of your readers. Adding description should be done a little at a time around the action and the dialogue. Some successful writers have gotten away with this, like George RR Martin, but for most people it simply isn’t going to work.

Too Much Dialogue

Just as too much description can be a terrible way to start, so can too much dialogue. In decades past, this was a popular way to start a fictional narrative. But this is simply gone out of style, and it is in a very strong starting point to begin with because you know nothing about the character or characters that are speaking. You can learn a little about them from their dialogue, but it’s a much better idea to add some action.

The Ironic Cliché

Starting with an ironic cliché like “It was a dark and stormy night – at least in the horror movie on television,” may seem like a clever way to start a story, but the truth is it is been done over and over again, and you may not do it well which will turn off a reader or editor. There are much better ways to start a story.



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