Wondering how to start a story? Learn all about hooking readers, establishing vivid scenarios and creating beginnings that make readers want to know urgently what happens next.
Good story openings are challenging to write but an inviting or catchy first sentence reels readers into your fictional world. Here are 8 famous first lines that teach us how to begin a novel in style:
Read 12 fun ways to find a book idea, from exploring myths and legends to poring through digital archives, doing as Disraeli advised, and more.
Whether you’re between projects or planning on writing your first book, there are many ways to decide what are good novel topics. Here are 14 ideas for how to find book topics:
‘Story exposition’ is often described as background, the necessary part to include so that readers know when, where and why your story takes place. Yet the exposition in a novel or short story is also an opportunity to entice, amuse, alarm and surprise your reader, foregrounding engaging themes and voices. Read on for a definition of exposition in fiction, plus examples taken from fantasy, historical fiction, speculative fiction and other genres:
Mastering how to start a novel with promise, intrigue or riveting suspense is important for hooking your reader fast. Read first chapter examples from diverse genres that give eight insights on how to write better beginning sentences and paragraphs:
A ‘hook’ in a story promises intrigue, entertainment and answers to the questions it raises. Far from the trickery of a bait and switch, a hook gives a true sense of what your reader can expect of your story’s pleasures. Explore great story hook examples and what they teach us about starting strong:
Great authors show us there are many ways to start a story. You could begin a novel with a narrator/character introducing himself, like Salinger’s Holden Caufield or Dickens’ David Copperfield. Or you could begin in the thick of action, as Ray Bradbury’s does in his classic novel, Fahrenheit 451.
How do you write story openings that engage readers from page one? We look at the beginning paragraphs of books Literary Hub listed as defining books of the 2000s. What do they reveal about writing strong beginnings?