What You must Know about Opening a Short Story

“Opening a Short Story” effectively is crucial for storywriters.Once you are prepared and ready to start with your story writing you will have to get down with the introduction.

The opening should capture or hook your readers so that they stay with you through the conflict right to the end.

The opening also establishes the mode and tone of the story – whether it is a sad, happy or funny tale and also its genre – drama, mystery, romance, adventure or family relationships.

The two ways to brush up your “Opening a Short Story” skills are to read other openings of short stories by famous writers and practice writing openings yourself. Sharing your short stories with family and friends for feedback will help you too.

And, finally, when you have completed your story, go back to your “Opening” and check with it fits with your story.

How to Open your Short Story

  • One of the ways of opening a short story is to introduce the elements – the character, point of view, voice and setting. This forms a good base as your reader gets intrigued and is led to the next part of the story – the conflict.
  • A dialogue is another way to introduce your character and gain the reader’s attention who gets a feel of the character’s nature and thoughts.
  • Move your reader back into time with a flashback which will lay a setting for what happens in the present. Especially works when you have a story based on memories.
  • Another way to intrigue the reader, is to begin the story with an unusual event. Notwithstanding, the reader will want to know what happens next.
  • Try addressing a question to your reader, attain their attention as they get down to figuring the next part of the plot.
  • How about using the first person to start your story ? You speak directly to the reader and gain their sympathy after which you can lead them to the action.
  • An opening can begin with a famous quotation or a proverb which can be the theme or message for your story. Very effective if your story is one with a teaching.
  • Begin with general information about a setting and then zoom onto the character who is the protagonist of your story.
  • Lastly, if you are confident, your “Opening a Short Story” can be the beginning of the conflict and the reader stays with you as you move on to the next stage.

Opening a Short Story

Here are some examples of short stories:

Once upon a time, on an uninhabited island on the shores of the Red Sea, there lived a Parsee from whose hat the rays of the sun were reflected in more than oriental splendour. – How the Rhinoceros got his Skin, Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling.

The cop moved along the street, looking strong and important. This was the way he always moved. He was not thinking of how he looked. There were few people on the street to see him. It was only about ten at night, but it was cold. And there was a wind with a little rain in it. – After Twenty Years by O. Henry.

“My aunt will be down presently, Mr Nuttel,” said a very self-possessed young lady of fifteen; “in the meantime you must try and out up with me.” – The Open Window by Saki.

As my father had told me, Dehra was a good place for trees, and Grandmother’s house was surrounded by several kinds- peepal, neem, jackfruit, papaya and an ancient banyan tree. – A good place for trees by Ruskin Bond.

Rosemary Fell was not exactly beautiful. No, you couldn’t have called her beautiful. Pretty? Well, if you took her to pieces… But why be so cruel as to take anyone to pieces? She was young, brilliant, extremely modem, exquisitely well dressed, amazingly well read in the newest of the new books, and her parties were the most delicious mixture of the really important people and… artists – quaint creatures, discoveries of hers, some of them too terrifying for words, but others quite presentable and amusing. –A Cup of Tea by Katherine Mansfield.










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