Read! Read, read, read. Discover new ways of looking at things, different people and places, different ways of saying things. Here is the opening paragraph of one of our favourite novels, Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.
My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer, my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice and two tomatoes, and I came back with a dog. This is what happened: I walked into the produce section of the Winn-Dixie grocery store to pick out my two tomatoes and I almost bumped right into the store manager. He was standing there all red-faced, screaming and waving his arms around.
“Who let a dog in here?” he kept on shouting. “Who let a dirty dog in here?”
What a great beginning to a story! And listen to the way India Opal is telling her story. Already you can hear the distinctive rhythms of her voice. She is speaking directly to us and she gets right to the point.
See if you can find a copy of the novel. It is such a good story and you will hear more of that voice, that way that Kate DiCamillo conjures up her narrator and the people and events in her life. We love the way she speaks her story. I wonder what voice you could use to tell your story?
Why not take the beginning of this story for a story of your own? Just take the first [long] sentence and put in your own ideas. It’s a bit like trying on someone’s shoes:
My name is …[put in your character’s name, or your own if you want to be the story teller] and .. [say a time, it could be yesterday or years ago] ..
my daddy, the preacher, [name your own character, or just get your main character to the store or wherever you want them to go, on their own account] sent me to the store [or shop, or the library or for …[insert your own list] and I came back with a… [what will your character come back with?]
Once you have that sentence, then your story has more than started. Good luck! We’d love to read your stories.