I had some questions about opening scenes of stories, as I’m having difficulty finding one.
What do you guys like to see in a story that hooks you right away?
If it’s something like flashbacks or flash forwards, what should they tell you about the story?
My plan is to have an intro that hooks the reader, then the splashes and an animated intro, followed by the beginning of the story. What kind of introduction makes you keep reading a story?
I think one of my favorite types of opening scenes are straight into the action scenes or scenes with characters that aren’t the main one. I like scenes without the MC at times because it makes the world feel more fleshed out and gives me something to think about as I go further into the episode.
That’s interesting, especially as I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they would rather not have the MC in the intro. But your reasoning makes sense, I’ll look into that more.
Also, what kind of characters would you like in the intro if not the MC?
I find what usually hooks me right away is when stories start with action immediately, or instead of a long introduction or some kind of monologue, it’s straight into dialogue or something interesting/exciting/mysterious happens! Also, surprising twists at the start are very cool since they give you that ‘‘Oh, this is different!’’ feeling.
These are at least things I try to use in the stories I’m working on because I find they work well on myself!
Got it! What kind of twists, and how would you use them without spoiling anything?
Ah, for me I think of twists in the first episode as maybe leading the reader to believe one thing about the situation and then flipping it/revealing it’s something completely different.
It’s hard to explain, but maybe just using very vague descriptions of something important to the story at the start, then revealing something that completely changes the reader’s impression? If that makes sense hahaha. This is just something I find interesting in writing/reading though! It’s like when you avoid writing a character’s pronoun, so your reader maybe assumes they’re male, but then you reveal it’s a woman later on and it’s very surprising? hahah Hard to explain!
I usually like seeing the main antagonists or characters who are sort of enigmas. For example, I’m writing this story about a murder that occurs during a reality tv show, so I was thinking about an opening scene. Most people start their stories off with a scene that features the main character that involves long narration or just a long speech that kind of bores me. I had a hard time coming up with an opening scene until I came up with the idea to start off with a screening of a tv promotion of the new season for the show.
I think the type of scenes I like are the ones that show their central themes, ideas, and sort of aesthetic in the beginning. It lets me know the potential tone of the story and hooks me onto the plot. I just get tired of seeing those intros of the MC getting ready and having a long daily routine. It gets boring after awhile, but it’s also kind of overused in many ways.
Haha, I definitely get what you mean! That would be cool, to make the reader think something and then flip it on its head. Thanks, that helps a lot.
I love those kinds of twists. Being vague, but also clear, helps a lot. Don’t give too much information, but don’t give too little. Like don’t straight up point out this person is absolutely this one thing, but you could add little hints to suggest there’s something up.
For sure, I’m tired of those as well because they tell you nothing about the plot. I also agree that the intro should represent it as a whole. I appreciate it. What’s your story called?
I haven’t published it yet because I’m busy with school, but I’m working on it. I’m curious about something. Do you have any opening scenes in mind right now?
School makes writing a lot harder. Your story sounds really interesting, though!
As for having any ideas, I was thinking maybe flash forwards of different periods in the characters’ relationship. I don’t really know how to explain it, but maybe small stages or little details of scenes that the reader will see throughout the story, and then they slowly get faster until it blacks out and turns to the title page. It’s very shaky at this point, though.
You could try to do an opening scene depicting a time of instability or a reunion in their relationship. I feel like someone’s done this kind of opening scene before most likely. Imagine Character A knocks on the door of Character B’s home, and B opens the door. They try to close the door, but A prevents them and begs them to talk to them. Then B eventually relents and decides to hear them out. Then you could do the flash forward before stopping in a scene you want like their first meeting.
I love when a story opens up and gets right into the action. Instead of getting descriptions of characters this is a much cooler idea to introduce your characters/plot.
In my story, I wanted something different so my story starts with a murder and doesn’t open up with the main characters.
That’s so good
I feel like either of the above two would be perfect, because it would make you feel closer to the characters before you’re even at the point of knowing them well. It would also help with character development. I’ll look into that, thank you!
I agree completely. Show, don’t tell.
So you would rather it just start the story than have flashbacks or something of the sort?
I don’t mind flashbacks, but personally I’m not too big of a fan of flash forwards because I think it feels as though it spoils the story. That’s just my opinion though.
Okay, just checking. Thank you!
I think it depends on what’s being shown. If the flash forward involved something like the characters hugging, nothing would be spoiled entirely. If it had something like the character crying though and they’re near a funeral casket, that definitely spoils or foreshadows someone’s imminent death.
Yeah, as long as it’s not too big of a spoiler I don’t really mind them.