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How to Write an Opening Sentence for Your Story

One of the hardest parts of writing a fictional story is figuring out what to write in the opening sentence. How do you write something that will instantly intrigue and excite your readers?

There are lots of ways you can begin your story, but here are five of the main techniques that I personally like to use.

1. Dialogue

Dialogue isn’t the most common way to begin a story, but it is definitely one of the easiest ways. All you have to do is jump right into a conversation; it’s that simple. But you do need to make sure you jump to the right point in a conversation because if you start in a place or topic related to something else already discussed in the conversation, it might not make sense to your readers.

For the story that I’m currently working on, I started with dialogue. Just like this:

“Maria, I need to ask you something,” Isaac said, shuffling his feet noisily on the concrete sidewalk.

For another story that I wrote, The Big Adventure, I used this technique also:

“Come on, Elijah!” eight-year-old Annabelle called.

It is kind of an abrupt beginning with nothing to really set it up, but it can work really well to immediately get your readers immersed in your story.

2. “Once Upon a Time”

A lot of fairy tales and fantasy stories start with the phrase “once upon a time” or a variation of that. More modern stories start like “one sunny summer day” or “one time in October” for their beginning sentence. I don’t use this method very often since it seems very classic and my stories are written in more of a modern style. But this technique is great if you want your story to feel like a fairy tale or old history book.

3. Thought

A lot of stories begin with the thought of one of the characters. For example:

I’m not sure this is a good idea, Brittany thought as she started climbing the rock wall.

That thought immediately brings your readers into the story. They wonder what Brittany is unsure about doing, and they know that in some way there is a possibility of something bad happening to her. Both of these things add lots of suspense. So beginning with thought could be a great way to get your readers in suspense from the get-go.

4. Question

Beginning your story with a question will definitely get your readers interested right away.

Why are unicorns so magical?

Starting with a question will always get your readers thinking about the answer to that question. Why ARE unicorns so magical?  Not only will this technique get your readers excited, but it will also help you get inspiration for your story. It will enable you to answer that question throughout the whole book, and ultimately at the end, giving you an already built-in plot.

So Which Technique Should you Use?

Any of these techniques will work for you. It’s your choice which one you want to use. Any of them will open your book in a nice, intriguing way that will interest your readers.

Opening Sentence Ideas

  • It was the only day that I’d ever gotten mad.
  • We all have our quirks. Some are more known, mine is just plain weird.
  • There was nothing more I hated than days like this.
  • I’m sorry that I let you down. I didn’t mean to.
  • They’d told me that my ancestors were heroes. I’ve realized that they were anything but.
  • When the cat’s away the mice will play.
  • Who do you think she was?
  • Never silence a voice that screams for reform; join it in its cries.
  • I thought it was going to be a good day.
  • Ya never know what will happen until it happens.
  • Life in all counts is mysterious and unknown, but oddly it seems beautiful.
  • Don’t know what you had till you don’t have it anymore.
  • I would say we all lived happily ever after if I didn’t hate liars.
  • Everyone tells me I’ll feel better if I talk about it, so here I am.
  • I was the villain of my own story.
  • Revolutions are overrated.
  • He was compelling in an unsettling kind of way.
  • The ceiling was yellowed from one too many cigarettes.
  • We hadn’t always been enemies.
  • The Chosen one had failed.
  • There are worse things to be than this.
  • Impending death gives one a peculiar clarity.
  • I’d heard the sky was blue, but it had always seemed a little far-fetched.
  • The trees would miss you if you left.
  • Now, don’t take this the wrong way…
  • They renamed the child on the second day to avoid the seer’s words, but a name is a name and a prophecy can’t be so easily fooled.
  • I’d been on so many death lists the novelty really had worn off.
  • A secret, that’s what I have, a secret that I want to tell you, and only you, my dearest enemy.
  • This day was a rather boring day, until Amadeus Vibert Henry the III, decided to go and break his wrist right in front of me.
  • Sometimes memories are the worst form of torture.
  • Sometimes there’s no right answer.
  • [Name] dreamed in colour. It was his/her secret.
  • [Name] could feel the void staring back.
  • We always spent Spring waiting for the peonies to bloom.
  • Copper-coil hair and mismatched eyes, that’s all there was to remember.
  • Sunshine felt wrong for a day like today.

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