Six Quick Tips For Starting Your Story

For those of you tracking my NaNoWriMo progress, I am currently at 3500 words. That isn’t as many as I should be at, but 3000 of those came today, so I am encouraged. It was difficult to start the story at the beginning so I jumped in today and wrote a scene I had been envisioning for a while. That worked much better. Now I feel as If I have a handle on at least one of my characters and I have a situation that I can move forward from.

My novel juggles multiple perspectives, so the narrative is going to jump with each chapter. It will show the story from the point-of-view of at least six and as many as eight characters. This means I have to find something interesting for each of the characters to do as the story reaches their moment. The first character I tried to follow simply had too dramatic a moment to start off with. I’m not ready to deal with that moment so today I chose another character’s story, which takes place slightly later in the narrative. Now that I am comfortable writing about her, I will introduce some of the other characters through her eyes and see what happens. For today’s quick tips I offer:

Six Tips For Starting Your Story

  1. Start with the scene you’ve been visualizing the most.
  2. Get to the action. Don’t worry about introducing your characters. You can always go back and do that later when you’ve been working with them for a while.
  3. Accept the fact that you aren’t going to get everything right the first time. Keep moving forward.
  4. If you can’t think of a first sentence, start by stating a character’s problem. Billy hated bats.
  5. If you don’t like what you started with, try something new. Don’t erase what you have, just move on.
  6. Relax.

13 thoughts on “Six Quick Tips For Starting Your Story

  1. Just checking in, I’m at 7,363 words. I’m really enjoying this NaNoWriMo adventure, thanks John and Rosemary for the inspiration that got me moving.
    Again the “novel” is called “The Round Table and the Oil of Abramalin.” The genre is satire and humor/spiritual New Age.

    Here is a quick little excerpt from what I call Chapter III, The Genie’s Bottle.

    Abram looked thoughtfully at his finger nails, thinking, and then lifted the sea-blue eyes to the group, he was deliciously conscious of Staza; the sweet scent of her still pungent in his senses.

    “Good evening all, I am Abram Shawa, and I come from a long line of genies.”

    A few of them sniggered again. Abram smiled indulgently, waiting for the mirth to pass. Staza lifted her eyes from the laptop, her scrolling finger came to a halt. To say that she looked, excited, would be an overstatement. Her face was completely blank, not a quiver of expression betrayed what her eyes hid.
    Abram did not fail to recognize that he had her attention. He was in tune with the spirit world she emanated from. In fact, his words so carefully uttered had been intended for just such a response from the mysterious woman he now claimed in his own mind as his sorceress. She was perfect.

    “My job here is to help each of you with your quest. As you can see from my treasures, I have truly been around the world and back. The amber comes from the sea near the islands of my boyhood, the woven cloth from the shops in the market on the streets of my parent’s birth, in the near East. The wand I fashioned from willow and the crystal mines found in the United States. And the small vial, well, well, of course, my wife lives in that little bottle.

  2. I’m in the 9th grade and I’m writing a story for my audition for Creative Writing at my school. I was feeling blank on how to start my story and this site’s 6 tips for starting a story really helped me. I will recommend these tips to anyone who fewlt the way I did. Thank you. :)

  3. Hi. I’m 11, I’ve started more than 200 stories in my lifetime and only finished 1. (I wasn’t too happy with it in the end.)
    I just love writing stories, and I’m getting new ideas all the time.
    Don’t think because I’m so young my stories couldn’t possibly good, because that’s not true. I’ve had some great ideas and I’m hoping that these tips will help me.
    So yeah,
    Thanks.

  4. Rebekah,

    I’m glad to see you have embraced writing. Sometimes you need to see the story through to the end, even if you aren’t happy with it. Good luck in your writing.

  5. I used these tips to start writing a story, it worked! I’m just finishing chapter one and I’m sooo happy, I would recommend this to anyone who is having trouble starting like I was.

  6. I looked at this site and it’s helped me start off my story quite well, I’ve typed about 700 words tonight thanks to these tips. Cheers

  7. I write stories a lot. I ALWAYS have a weak beginning. I’ve been told by some people (who are super judgmental and critical) they are good though. My other problem is I never can finish! I am about to start a new story and I just hope I can come strong, stay strong, and finish. I’m only 14 but I hope to one day have one of my stories made into a novel. The biggest achievement I wish I could have would be to have one be a movie . :-)

  8. This is MAJORLY helpful!! thanks so much. i’ve looked everywhere for tips but found none helpful, till now. it strange because your tips were the exact things i needed to hear i’ve been trying to get the character’s and other things but i think you’ve helped me out a LOT!! THANKS SO MUCH!! (:

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