How To Start A Fiction Story Examples – Writing good story openings is difficult, but an inviting or interesting first sentence draws readers into your fantasy world. Here are 8 famous first lines and what they teach us about starting a novel with style:
Opening a strong story immediately makes you want to know more. The author hurts you with incomplete knowledge. When you want to send a book to an agent and get published, your first line is probably the one you’ll need to improve the most.
- 1 How To Start A Fiction Story Examples
- 1.1 How Do You Start A Chapter In A Novel? 10 Examples
- 1.2 Flash Fiction Definition And History
- 1.3 Sample Syllabus Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life
- 1.4 How To Write A Great Story In 5 Steps
- 1.5 Five Reasons To Write Flash Fiction: Understanding The Literary Love Child Of The Short Story And Poetry
- 1.6 How To Write A Good Story (with Pictures)
- 2 Ways To Write An Outline For A Story
- 3 Adapting A True Story: Examples Of Writing Fiction Based On True Events
How To Start A Fiction Story Examples
The snow was melting in the mountains and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we realized the gravity of our situation. Donna Tartt, The Secret History (1992), p. 3.
How Do You Start A Chapter In A Novel? 10 Examples
Calling a character’s death an unusual last name makes us want answers to the ‘who’ and ‘why’. Who is Bunny and why is he dead?
Tartt’s use of the past perfect (“Bunny had died a few weeks ago…”) extends the sense of mystery to the events that took place after Bunny’s death. Bunny died not now or 5 minutes ago. These were weeks, and those weeks are a blank space that the reader wants to fill.
We understand that we will not only learn how and why Bunny died, but also the consequences. The first person plural in “our situation” reveals shadowy characters in the background.
That’s a lot to fit into one sentence. The opening provokes us with unanswered questions, the possibility of the narrator’s possible complicity (along with the involvement of other characters yet to be introduced).
Flash Fiction Definition And History
Immediately suggest the themes of the story. There is no absolute “rule” for opening lines in novel writing (other than making a good sentence).
The opening of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is one of the most famous opening lines in fiction:
It was the best time, it was the worst time, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the age of faith, it was the age of unbelief, it was the age of light. it was the season of darkness, the spring of hope, the winter of despair, everything was ahead of us, nothing was ahead of us, we were all going straight to heaven, we were all going straight to the other side – in short, that time was very similar to the present time. , which some of its most vocal authorities have insisted should, for better or worse, be taken only in comparison. Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859), full text provided by Project Gutenberg.
Dickens’ first line is an excellent example of an interesting first sentence. The parallel construction of extreme opposites is memorable for its repetitive structure, similar to an epic poem. This clearly shows the issue. It suggests the book’s relevance to historical processes (especially the French Revolution).
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The social bonds of poverty and wealth, power and powerlessness that Dickens explores are indicated by the class opposites of his opening sentence.
Happy families are all the same; Every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1878, trans. 1901), p. 3.
Tolstoy’s first line describes the internal conflict that uses the tragic events of the story in a bold and detailed statement.
The opening line is effective for two reasons. On the one hand, it makes a statement that we can argue against. ‘Happy families are as varied as unhappy ones’, we might object.
Sample Syllabus Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life
Second, the opening sentence is well-crafted. The contrast between happy and unhappy families has symmetry. The structure of the sentence draws our attention to this opposition. Its clear structure makes us ponder the claim and wonder how this bold claim will be proven by history.
Interesting first lines of novels often begin with interesting character movements that set the stage for future developments.
The opening sentence of George Orwell’s famous novel about farm animals revolting introduces the antagonist of the farmer who is the animal abuser of the revolutionaries:
Mr Jones of Manor Farm had locked up the chicken coops for the night but was too drunk to remember to lock them. George Orwell, Animal Farm (1945), p. 3.
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Orwell shows that his character makes a mistake in the first place. When Orwell mentions Jones’ negligence, it becomes significant – we assume there will be consequences for this drunken mistake.
With this, the development of the plot (the conditions for the animals to meet and organize their rebellion) is shown from the beginning.
The first sentence of a novel does not necessarily focus on the protagonist or central character. Take this example of the first line of fantasy from George’s introduction. R.R. Martin
“We have to go back,” Gared insisted, as the forest began to darken around him. “The beasts are dead” George RR Martin, A Game of Thrones (1996), p. 13.
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There is a clear and urgent sound of danger. Despite many blogs and books advising otherwise, Martin starts with dialogue (many think it’s wrong to start with dialogue, but here we can see how effectively he can set character, tone and setting in indicate rolled into one).
For a brief explanation of GMC, watch this excerpt from our monthly writing webinars, where Now Novel writing coach Romy Sommer explains the concept:
Write a few introductory sentences that begin with dialogue. Before you write these practice opening lines, write:
Many stories open to future events or recall events much earlier than the main story period.
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(1967) is a good example of how to create a novel with an opening setting that plays with space and time:
Many years later, before the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía would remember the distant afternoon when his father took him to explore the glacier. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), p. two.
We get a glimpse of the character’s future right from the start, and it’s a dramatic and unusual one. Why would Buendia face the firing squad? This is something we study to learn.
Márquez’s first line is a strong example of clever opening lines that play with narrative time as it simultaneously looks forward and backward. We get a sense of the character’s nostalgia for the past (his trip with his father) along with the grim future that awaits him.
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We know that if we continue reading the story we will discover more about the character’s curious past and dangerous future.
The novels’ inviting opening lines set the scene for the events that follow. We are presented with a narrative setting or point in time.
When he was almost thirteen, my brother Jem badly broke his arm. Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), p. 3.
The sequence itself is probably not among the greatest revelations of all time: it is simple and does not reveal a great mystery. However, it is precisely this simplicity and familiar voice of Scout that draws us into the story.
Ways To Write An Outline For A Story
Scout narrates the events of the story, from the racist trial at the center of the story to the antics of the town’s vigilante, Boo Radley. Scout as the narrator witnesses the suffering of others: her brother’s arm, her father’s involvement with social injustice, or the trauma of Boo Radley.
As Jeff O’Neal says in his close reading of Lee’s opening line, Scout establishes her “journalistic position as witness and reporter.”
Starting the story in the first person means presenting the worldview and psychology of the character from the beginning. Tweet this
If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what a crazy childhood I had, and how busy my parents were and everything before they got here. take me, and the whole David Copperfield thing is rubbish, but I don’t want to go into it if you want to know the truth. JD Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951), p. 3.
Adapting A True Story: Examples Of Writing Fiction Based On True Events
Direct address to the reader allows the reader to trust the narrator, while quickly establishing rapport. This inviting tone makes us emotionally invest in the narrator quickly.
What are your famous first lines? Share them in the comments or tell us what the first focus of your work in development is.
Once you have a great opening line, you still need to deliver the rest of the space. Click here to get your free guide to starting, developing, and finishing great shots.
Jordan is a writer, editor, community manager, and product developer. He holds a BA in English Literature and a BA in English Literature and Music from the University of Cape Town. Flash fiction, sometimes known as napkin fiction or microstories, is a genre of fiction writing in which stories are about 1,000 words long. . Because all types of flash fiction are short, the focus is on the development or progression of the story rather than character introductions or complex plot twists. Therefore, the basic plot or idea of your story must be brilliant from start to finish, otherwise it will easily fail. Here are 50+ flash story suggestions to inspire you to write the best flash novel ever!
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While the average length of a flash story is around 1,000 words, today’s flash story has evolved to become even shorter. Take, for example, six-word stories that tell
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