How Do YOU Start Your Stories?

I’ve been having some trouble with writing my stories lately. Sometimes they seem to get lost in the plot, or I am not quite sure where the story is going so I just keep writing and see where it takes me, but what that seems to be resulting in for me is some mediocre stories!

My question for you is, How do YOU start your stories?

Do you prefer to outline, and plan out plot points as you go? Or do you just sit down and start writing letting the words just take you into the story. Is the idea already in your head? Or do you let it come together on its own? Is there a right way to start a story?

I have been starting with a good first line to a story, and then just writing and letting the story develop itself. The problem I am finding with this is that often my story can either end up rather dull and so I find myself rushing to put in action. Perhaps this is really just a test in my patience, as I have trouble waiting for the story to develop highs and lows at its own time.

I have a theory that I wouldn’t rush things quite so much if I had an outline defining major plot points in the story. I would then know that at a certain point, all my added fluff would eventually lead to the next plot point, resulting in what is hopefully a better, more thorough, less boring story.


  • Beginning

  • Middle

  • End

Of course, I decide this and read a statement like this from NYbookeditors.com:

When you head into a piece of writing without the planning, the job of the writer is to create. Your writing can exist in a mutable state for a very long time. The best writing happens when the writer is discovering what happens as he or she is creating.

So perhaps I should just keep writing in my haphazard way, and one of these days things will just click?

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?



  • Brian Leekley

    Aristotle, a philosopher in ancient Greece, described the basic outline for a play, or any dramatic story, that is still among the best: aiim for the audience / reader to feel Pity, then Fear, then Catharsis. That is, first put your main character in a plight with which the viewer or reader sympathizes. Second, add complications that make the viewer or reader fearful of what the outcome might be. Third, bring the crisis to a climax that lets the viewer or reader sigh with relief, cheer with joy, weep with resigned sorrow, or otherwise feel release from the story’s tension.

    As for how to begin a story, I wish I knew. It’s happened to me a number of times that eventually in a later daft I deleted several paragraphs, or even several pages, of the first draft. I wrote a novel that I need to rewrite because I realize that the real story begins half-way through it.

    • Melissa

      Thank you so much for your comment! This is very helpful information and I hope to put it to good use when working on my novel!

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