Beginning With “Why?”

As a way to begin a story, “Why” is best applied if the priority of your story idea is about the Reason or Meaning of what happened. In the end, every story explores why sometime, something happened to some people where it did. But amongst all these elements, some story ideas focus on the Reason or Meaning behind events as their main priority. In such a scenario, begin your story with the question “Why?”

Narrowing your focus to the “Why” of a Reason-inspired story idea makes the task of beginning the story less stressful.

When you have answered the question of “Why” correctly, you can easily select the measures and combinations of the remaining four elements (Who, When, Where, and What) that best emphasise the focus and priority of your story – The Reason or Meaning.

HOWEVER! HOWEVER!!

Your story idea prioritises on “Why” (Reason or Meaning) does not mean that you can downplay the other elements. There is a Reason or Meaning because in the first place, something happened to someone, sometime, somewhere. The point of this creative writing key is to solve the puzzle of beginning a story idea focused on investigating the Reason or Meaning of an event, not to score the element of “Why” as more important than the others.

EXAMPLE

“Staring at the high ceiling of the office, Detective Boris could not say how the 87-year-old President hung himself… or why it seems like he did.”

One prominent feature of beginnings with “Why” is that they either present a puzzle to be solved or present the solved puzzle. Whichever form it chooses depends on the part of the story plot from which you wish to start writing.

Beginning With “Where?”

As a way to begin a story, the question of “Where” is best applied if the priority of your story idea is about a place. In the end, every story has a place where something, sometime, for some reason, happened to the people it happened. But amongst all these elements, some story ideas wish to explore the Setting of a story as its main priority. In such a scenario, begin your story with the question “Where?”

Narrowing your focus to the “Where” of Place-inspired story idea guarantees you don’t struggle with your beginning.

When you have answered the question of “Where” properly, you can easily select the measures and combinations of the remaining four elements (Who, When, What and Why) that best emphasise the focus and priority of your story – The Place.

HOWEVER! HOWEVER!!

Your story idea prioritizes “Where” (Place) does not mean that you can downplay the other elements. An essential part of the story Setting is the Place and the Time of the event. Settings become authentic when you consciously do justice to the other elements. This creative writing key aims to help you begin a story idea about a Place, not to score the element of Setting as more important than the rest.

EXAMPLE

“London was a city I called home until I married James.”

The advantage of beginning your story with the focus of the idea is that it leads you in the directions of thought that best serve that purpose. In the above example, you will notice that your natural inclination would be to tell a story of how your beloved London ceased to be home, or how it became home again.

Beginning With “When?”

As a way to begin a story, “When” is best applied if the priority of your story idea is about a particular time in history. In the end, every story has a timeline when what happened, happened to the people it happened to, where it happened, and for the reason it happened. But amongst all these elements, some story ideas wish to explore a moment as its main priority. In such a scenario, begin your story with the question “When?”

Narrowing your focus to the “When” of Time-inspired story idea makes the task of beginning your story less overwhelming.

When you have answered the question of “When” properly, you can easily select the measures and combinations of the remaining four elements (Who, What, Where and Why) that best emphasise the focus and priority of your story – The Time.

HOWEVER! HOWEVER!!

Your story idea prioritises “When” (Time) does not mean that you can downplay the other elements. The Time of your story only makes sense when you have defined it with proper development of the other elements. The point of this creative writing key is to help you know where to begin your story idea, not to score the element of “When” as more important than the rest.

EXAMPLE

A story about 2020 and how it is unique from other years could begin thus:

“If anyone had told Conrad, the quick-tempered aerophobic pilot, that a time would come when he would beg for the sky, he would’ve shot the person right in the face.”

Now, even though the above first sentence named a character and went ahead to say that he is a pilot that fears flying, it is not lost that the story’s focus is about a particular moment in time. The fact that it intentionally refuses to mention the Time in question even draws more curiosity to it.

Beginning With “What?”

As a way to begin a story, “What” is best applied if the priority of your story idea is about a thing or an idea. In the end, every story is about something which sometime, for some reason, is the concern of the characters somewhere. But amongst all these elements, some story ideas wish to explore something or an idea as their main priority. In such a scenario, begin your story with the question “What?”

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The Writing Process: Ways To Begin

No stage of the writing process makes a writer doubt their ability like the beginning. The beginning is when, no matter how you start, there always seems to be a better way to do so. It is a stage that sucks you into a loop of indecision that leaves you exhausted on a blank page.

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