The Five Best Ways of Opening a Story

“The easiest thing in the world for a reader to do is to stop reading.” Barney Kilgore, former editor of the Wall Street Journal.

The opening is the most important part of the story. If your lead is not interesting, intriguing or entertaining, the reader may never get any further. Therefore, you want to spend as much time as necessary finding a strong lead. Rewrite the lead until it sparkles, presenting a lively, exciting opening to the story.

Here are the five best ways of opening a story or book: summary, scenic, anecdote, inventory and beginning at the end. Each of these techniques pulls the reader into the story quickly. The type of lead you use in a given story depends on your material and the audience you want to reach. Scenic leads lend themselves to active stories; summary and anecdotal leads often work best with more reflective stories. But there’s no rule about it; go with what works best!

For more on lead, please consider signing up for my fall writing class.

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