How to Start a Story

How to Start a Story

What draws a reader in?

So, you’ve got some ideas now, but how do you actually start your story? In this mini-lesson, Naomi guides us through visualizing the start of our stories. One of the best ways to start our characters into a scene is to put them in motion. What physical action might engage them with their surroundings? At the end of this mini-lesson you’ll have a clear mental picture of your story so that you’ll be ready to write it out for your readers.

Here are some examples of how to set up a scene at the beginning of a story, from previous Inklings Book winners:

The morning came with a leaky roof.

Daphne glanced upwards, watching a small drizzle of rain trickle slowly through the ceiling of her run-down trailer and onto the floor, sliding delicately down the diagonal table like children on a slide. The sun, washing the earth with a golden glow, was hidden behind the skirts of puffy black and grey clouds. She moved to the table, where a half-eaten McDonalds burger lay soaked in a puddle of water, and wrinkled her nose in distaste, wondering where she would get her food that day. Anger and anxiety sank in, reaching through her body to her toes, but she shook it off with a shiver.

(2020, The Road She Walked by Claire Guo)

Hoo, hoo…

I open my eyes to a melancholy sight. Golden autumn leaves, wet and torn from the storm, are scattered across the lawn and drifting in the pool. From my bed, I watch droplets of water trickle their way down the windowpane.

Hoo, hoo…

I turn my head to look at the clock on the wall. Seven o’clock in the morning. Groaning, I snuggle back into my blankets.

Hoo, hoo…

(2019, After the Storm by Julie Shi)

I trudged out of the music room with my violin. I felt like a sad, wilting flower—I had my angelic white dress on and gelled hair, and sparkling silver shoes that completed my outfit, but my emotions were drooping like the petals of the wilting flower. I wanted to barge into the music room and ask the judges for a second chance to perform, but that would not be the smartest choice.


Beautiful Sounds

by Shannon Ma)

✍🏼 Ready to write?

Use the interactive tool below or download the PDF 👉🏼 to complete the activity.

↓Here's that PDF:

Download the PDF by clicking the below link:

How to Start a Story.pdf155.3KB