integral components of a story's beginning

The 3 Integral Components of a Story’s Beginning

3 integral components of your story's beginningToday, I’m honored to be hosted by Larry Brooks on his fabulous site Storyfix. Be sure to stop by his site to read my guest post “The 3 Integral Components of a Story’s Beginning.” Below is a sneak peek:

Beginnings are tough for a number of reasons, not least among them the fact that we’re wading blind into unknown territory, trembling with the knowledge that if we fail to be brilliant, readers won’t get past the first chapter. How do we grip readers with can’t-look-away action, while still taking the time to establish character? How do we decide upon the perfect moment to open the scene? How do we balance just the right amount of information to keep from confusing readers, while at same time raising the kind of intriguing questions that make them want to read on?

The beginning chapters of my books are inevitably rewritten more than any other part of the story. They’re tough to get right because they must offer so many elements in a seamless presentation that effortlessly entices and guides readers into the meat of the story. Look as we might, we won’t find any surefire method for making certain every beginning chapter of every book turns out just right every time. Writing is too organic an art form to be confined by checklists. I can’t give you the “10 guaranteed steps to a winning first chapter.” What I can do is highlight the three integral components found in almost every successful opening.

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. Ugh… I know… My first chapter is crying out for a major rewrite. Especially after my CPs had it in their hands.


  2. But just think how much it will sparkle *after* that major rewrite! 😉

  3. I’m actually not too bad at beginnings after some much needed tightening up, of course. Endings on the other hand…I need some major help!

  4. In some ways endings are more important than beginnings (and that’s saying a lot). Beginnings decide if a reader will your book; endings decide if they’ll read another one.

  5. This was such a great post! I loved the way you expanded on Hitler. Invaded. Poland.

  6. Glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Interesting post. I am now on my fourth opening rewrite. Patience threatens to run out, but Determination pulls her back. 😉

  8. Rah, rah, rah, Determination! 😀 Beginnings are tough and time-intensive, but they’re always worth the extra work.

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