Does Your Short Story’s First Paragraph Have the Right Effect on Readers?

Learn what the objective of your opening paragraph should be. LESSON #3

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

On your mark, get set, go! No matter what you’re running towards in life, the moment you decisively enter the race, it’s important that you get off to the right start.

You can apply this analogy to your fiction writing, regardless of whether you’re writing a full length novel, or just a short story.

That doesn’t mean that everything you write should start off the same way. In fact, the very first paragraph of the short story you’re writing should not start off the way you start off a novel.

Short Story Sprinters

Think about a runner in an actual race. Runners know better than to start a 30-yard dash the same as they would a 3-mile marathon.

Unlike marathon runners, sprinters don’t have the time or luxury of pacing themselves and relying on their staying power.

In a 30-yard dash, the runner has to show what they have and deliver the goods, straight out the gate.

Short story writers are sprinters, and the details they convey in the very first paragraph are crucial.

First Paragraph Attributes

Make sure to get your short story off to a good start by using the following suggestions:

· Have an unusual opening

· Provide conflict

· Create tension

· Start near end

· Create curiosity

These are the elements to help get your story off to a good start, while keeping the reader engaged. Use these elements on a regular basis and they will become like second nature when you write.

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