Writers struggle with how to write the introduction to a story. If the introduction is dull and unexciting, the reader is apt to put it down, never to even read the second paragraph. If the introduction is engaging and interesting, the reader will want to read further to see what will happen next in the story.
There is no easy way to learn how to write the introduction to a story. The best way to learn is to read how other writers create attention-grabbing and appealing introductions to their stories and use some of the same techniques they employ without copying their style or their words verbatim.
If finding simple ways to write an introduction to your story is keeping you from putting that burning story inside you down on paper, try these simple techniques.
Begin By Telling a Brief Story
Many writers begin their introductions with an anecdote or a brief story that grabs the reader's attention. Be sure the anecdote or brief story introduces clearly the story that comes after it.
Describe a Scene in an Interesting Way
Describing a scene is a good way to arouse the reader's curiosity. The reader will be intrigued by the setting and wonder what happened at the scene and why the scene was significant to the whole story. However, the scene must be interesting and relate to the story that follows.
Begin with a Quotation
When using a quotation, make sure to use a quotation that is provocative and says something significant. The story that follows should explain the meaning of the quotation or the purpose for using it in your story. Your story must build upon the quotation so that readers will want to read further to find out what you have to say.
Begin with a Definitive Statement
Most introductions begin with a general beginning and follow with specific and concrete details about the subject. Write a definitive statement that simply states your stance on an issue. Then follow the statement with interesting and/or factual information that will provoke agreement or disagreement from the reader.
Pose a Question
A good way to introduce a subject is to use a question. Sometimes questions can be answered immediately following the question and then proceed on to the story, or the question can be left at the beginning to be pondered over until later in the story. The writer can answer the question at any point in the story, but the question should be answered at some point before the story ends.
Another way to introduce your subject is to state a commonly held belief or statement of fact and follow quickly with a contrasting view. You present a situation that your readers may agree with, and after a paragraph or two, you assert that you will take an opposing or differing view. This type of introduction compels the reader to take a stance on the issue.
One very important point to remember about introductions is to include a clearly defined thesis statement that indicates to the reader the overall point you are going to make in your story. The thesis statement must be stated clearly in the introductory paragraph (it is most effective as the last sentence). Be sure that with any of the techniques you use to introduce your story, you conclude the introductory paragraph with a strong, well-developed, and thoughtful thesis statement.
Now you are off to a good start. The introduction is no longer a roadblock to writing that burning story inside you.
Katrina Parker Williams maintains a blog of her musings about literature, writing, art, and culture at http://katrinaparkerwilliams.wordpress.com/. She is the author of a fictional novel titled Liquor House Music and publishes writing and publishing articles online. Her work has appeared in Charlotte Viewpoint, Muscadine Lines, USADEEPSOUTH, and on the Wilson Community College website. Her work has recently been published at The Saints' Placenta and is forthcoming in All Things Girl, the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and Muscadine Lines.
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