The start

The start of a story is very important, it has to attract, interest and entice the reader so, writers often think long and hard about how to begin telling their story. This process can be confusing or tricky, understandably so, because a story involves various characters doing so many things, it can be hard to decide where to begin the telling.

Now the start doesn’t necessarily mean the story has to pick up from the very beginning, it could start at the very end, after the protagonist is dead, the killer(s) are caught, or the romantic couple declare their love. It could also start from before or as the victim is murdered, when the couples meet, or even go as far back as when the protagonist was born. It is the writer’s decision.

And even when it is clear at what point a writer wants to begin, the actual start can still be confusing. ‘Once upon a time’ remains the oldest start in writing history, but a writer wants to be more ingenious, to create the first paragraph that is exciting. So that even if the book starts with ‘It was a hot a day —’, or ‘It was an unusually wet day —.’ what follows should be unique. For some writers, this stage can last several days, with a pile of scrunched papers, or a blank page that has been cleared too many times more than the writer cares to remember.

I experienced all that as a budding writer, but with experience comes a certain confidence that enables a writer zero in on the most important point, which is, that the start has to captivate, arrest, pull in the reader so that they find themselves intrigued, excited and with the need to turn the page and the next one and just keep going. I always start writing with that in mind, and with a scene that were I reading another writer’s book, would I be drawn in? Whatever the storyline, the start leading to my first chapter is always the red carpet into my book. I love it to say, ‘Welcome to my story.

While reading through the first draft of my manuscript, I had thought the way I chose to start my story was great. I still think so, thus I’m letting it read as it was first written. I think I did a great job, if I do say so myself.

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