The Opening Scene

The opening lets the reader know what’s going on, who is involved, what their relationships are and what the context is.

  • Meet and greet your protagonist and antagonist
  • Introduce the inciting incident
  • Establish the setting
  • Create the right mood
  • Plant questions

The opening scene must lead to many possible outcomes. However, once the story is done and the reader looks back, it should be clear every step of the road lead to this particular ending.

Where to start the story

Begin at the first time your protagonist was truly challenged by something that threatened his self-concept. This is the start of change. If possible, state a goal using words such as ‘want, ‘need’ or ‘must’. Adding motivation allows the reader to understand the why and the importance of the goal.

Writing the Opening Line

The aim of the opening line is to propel the reader into reading the second. Opening lines promise trouble, provokes curiosity and raises questions.

Opening with an intriguing character

Mrs. Sloan had only three fingers on her left hand, but when she drummed them against the countertop, the tiny polished bones at the end of the fourth and fifth stumps clattered like fingernails

Start mid action

The Dracon’s three-fingered handsflexed. In the thing’s yellow eyes I could read the desire to either have those fingers around a weapon or my throat