I am participating in #SliceofLife20. Thanks to twowritingteachers for creating this space to write, share, and grow.
A good beginning “leads” a reader into the story. It makes them want to continue to read. A lead sentence captures readers’ attention, enticing them to read more. The first page of a book and the beginning of any story is the hook that helps the writer “reel” in his audience. Sometimes, leads can be a combination of two or more sentences. It is absolutely okay to write your lead paragraph, knowing that when you finish your story (any fiction work, memoir, even biography, and autobiography), you can return to the lead paragraph to do some revision work. So your first lead may be a placeholder. This is usually true of your title, too. Here are some examples of great leads that you may have introduced to your students. I hesitated to include the book I wrote with Rose Cappelli here, but I believe it is a great resource for writing fiction pieces. So you can find more in Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children’s Literature (Stenhouse, 2017):
If only Billy had known that he was tall enough to ride the “Rolling Thunder.” Why did he always talk before he thought things out?
Short, Choppy Statement:
No. No. I’ll never do that again!
I, Lyddie Jones, will never, ever take my younger brother to an amusement park with my best friends.
Thoughtshot (see Barry Lane’s After THE END: Teaching and Learning Creative Revision, 2nd edition):
“Why am I afraid to tell my sister how I feel?” Billy thought to himself.
The old cars moaned and groaned as they were pulled up the wooden track by invisible hands.
The track rose up like a dark spirit across the blue sky, turning my insides to mush.
A soft rain spattered against the car windows as we drove down the New Jersey Turnpike. As we approached Great Adventure, the rain came down in driving sheets, fierce and angry. The few cars in the giant parking lot seemed to float like ducks on top of a puddle-pond that was growing larger by the minute.
Quote (what people say):
My mother always said that Lyddie should have been born the boy. Lyddie, who was always daring, courageous, and full of life.
Amusement parks! They should really be called torture chambers!
Your Turn: Try to write some leads in your writer’s notebook for a story you are writing or have already published. Try to use a combination of leads. Choose one or two you have never used before. We grow as writers because we take risks and try new things. I have provided some settings for you if you want to start a new piece of writing. Happy writing!
a circus on a rocket ship to Mars
camping near a river climbing a mountain
a ski vacation in Colorado arriving at Ellis Island
at the seashore sailing on the Titanic
a deserted island an apartment in the city
scuba diving near a coral reef at a holiday party