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How to Start a Story and Catch the Readers` Attention

31 May 2020
How to Start a Story

Well, you realize that an introduction really plays a significant role in the perception of the whole book. That`s why the writers try to boost the readers` interest from the first pages.

In this article, we are going to briefly present some of the useful steps to write a catchy introductory part that really makes a positive impression.

Here below there is a list of them:

  • Make the connection between the reader and the character
  • Intrigue
  • Add emotion to the story
  • Start a story with the help of a powerful visual snapshot
  • Create a convincing first paragraph
  • Leave a clue
  • Let the first chapter finish on the cliffhanger
  • Complete the first chapter with the bookend

A Moment of Motivation and Intention

Remember that the first page you write is the first page someone reads so that it should be perfect. Sometimes it is really a bit tricky to attract the reader`s attention, so you can benefit from a range of helpful peculiarities and recommendations on how to start a story.

In this context, when starting a story, you ought to be oriented to the following actions:

  • hook a reader
  • promise to support the interest
  • promote the connection
  • sell the book, of course

So, let us provide a general overview of the key steps on how to start a story.

Make a Connection between the Reader and the Character

Indeed, the opening sentence should set the right tone and introduce your reader to you and your world. Like any first impression, there are certain dos and don’ts that should be examined thoroughly.

You may stick to at least one and a maximum of three of these points in the first sentences. Of course, you may want to try an all-inclusive approach in order to start a story in triumph. However, while mastering how to start a story successfully, you may remember that a page-long sentence, of course, can be really impressive and cognitive, on the one hand. Nevertheless, it can alienate or deter some readers.

  • Make Connection between the Reader and the Character
  • Present Intrigue
  • Cause an Emotion
  • Snapshot a Prime Example

So, you may apply the action-packed introduction, presenting a strong idea of the setting, without lingering or over-explaining. Let the reader accept the happening situation and become interested in the character`s future actions.


You may initiate more questions than you generate answers. Surely, avoid using indistinct prediction, try to amaze the readers with something that will resonate when the reader comes to the resolution. You may consider what the best strategy to communicate with the reader is.

Cause an Emotion

There are particular touchstones and trigger phrases that might help you create a proper atmosphere and engage the person to continue reading the rest of the pages. The reader should be placed in a special and unique emotional headspace that can cause engagement and motivation, just like during speeches. This doesn`t only mean displaying the emotive language, but also the opening ought to provoke some feelings.

A Solid Visual Snapshot

It is usually no need to describe the whole scene or a landscape, just pointing out the bright highlights and remarkable aspects of something. Such a snapshot seems to be a picture in words. What is standing out even at first sight? This essence is much deeper than an overview.

With the aim of avoiding a dismissal mode, you may study some elements that should be omitted while deciding how to start a story.

Do not follow these elements:

  • Triteness
  • Cliché phrases
  • “He woke up.”

You should build your own world with the help of relevant words. Try not to repeat the trivial facts several times. This means, if it is expected that the reader already knows something, this information is not recommended repeating too often.

Of course, clichés can be used in particular book genres. Nonetheless, you should not confuse them with the figures of speech. Remember that it is not suitable to say the same things in the same way. So that try to broaden your ideas, and thus, you may create an original method to start a story delightfully.

Remember that inappropriate clichés may destroy the expected emotions, as the readers usually want to feel something true and genuine.

Some stories tend to begin with the process of getting up. Although it is not always suitable, so, think of whether you would like to start a story with such an action or not.

A Persuasive First Paragraph

Look at these proper options to do when starting writing the paragraphs:

  • Keep the course
  • Accumulate consistently
  • Wow greatly

So, the writer should stick to the same tone and keep the attention that was presented in the first sentence.

You may often observe ramping up progressively in the snapshots as well as character connections. The writer is boosting the reader`s interest adding detail through the paragraph. This helps to slowly separate one character from other ones of this type.

The double down is considered to be one of the trickiest techniques to apply. The writer hopes to extremely wow the reader.

Leaving a hint in the last paragraph

The first sentence usually works as a hook for the reader; the first paragraph makes promises; the last paragraph should introduce more concepts while limiting resolution.

The possible chapter endings:

  • Ending with a Hint
  • Planning a Roadmap
  • Bookend
  • Cliffhanger

Each of these ideas may provide a reason to keep on reading. When giving a hint, it is recommended to be broad and narrow enough simultaneously. This means the hint ought to be broad enough to be interesting, but narrow enough to let your resolution within the following chapter or two fully satisfy the hint.

Cliffhanger as an Option

Study the next Cliffhanger Generation Advice:

  • Somebody can Appear in the Story
  • The Existence of a Lingering Question
  • Unexpected Insight
  • The Appearance of the Depths

As for a new character in the story, the reader may really want to know who this is, and thus, this technique can support the readers` interest in the next chapters of the book.

In the scenario of a Lingering Question, the reader tries to think about the events of the action that have just been transpired.

Unexpected Insight is the opposite of the Lingering Question.

The Appearance of Depths is usually suitable for horror, science fiction, fantasy stories.

An Option of the Bookend for the First Chapter

This method may work especially well in the stories which start in the known world. It is like a mirror version of the first sentence. The writer can show that what has been created as well as what so breathtaking initially has turned around.

So, please, note that this brief guide is only a general overview of some of the existent writing tips. Anyway, there are a lot of various techniques and methods on how to start a story well. You should study this topic thoroughly if you need to learn some methods in detail. You can search for several credible information sources and discover how the writers may choose or combine some writing techniques on how to start a story successfully.

If it is your personal creative idea to start writing a story, you may practice and find the appropriate techniques for you every time. However, if it is a special task from school or, maybe, college, you should ask your professor about all the necessary requirements and instructions, as they can vary significantly. Remember to carefully proofread several times and edit your story when necessary. There should be no mistakes (of any type) in the story.

Be inspired, and good luck to you!

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