Nancy's Books

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Story Beginnings/Call for Submissions

I recently heard a speaker compare a story to a dinner. The beginning is the appetizer. Appetizers are delicate, interesting pieces that tantalize the hunger and make us anticipate the meal with high expectations. The story middle is the main course, satisfying and delicious. That leaves the ending dessert, which should be small (short) and sweet. A happy ending works well in children’s literature. The reader closes the book feeling fulfilled and looking forward to the next literary meal.

The beginning is the most difficult part of the story to write. Let’s look at some ways to tantalize the reader.
The first sentence should be intriguing or exciting to hook the reader’s interest. Let’s look at some ways to do hook ‘em in.
Humor is an effective method.
Ragweed by Avi begins with "Ma, a mouse has to do what a mouse has to do." That sentence sets the tone for the humorous book.
Build excitement or tension.
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy: “Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches stood at the top of a high mountain surrounded by a pine forest.”
By creating a mystery or a problem.
I began my book, Amazing Grace, with “My day began like every other day in 1944—ordinary—then the mysteries unfolded, not one, but two.”
By challenging (or reversing) the reader's expectations.
Try writing a beginning line for this type of opening. I’ll start. The biggest, baddest wolf in the whole forest feared only one thing—Little Miss Hen.
Practice writing beginning sentences for your manuscript even after it is complete.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Stories of Music. We are seeking new and published authors and artists to share works focused on music and the impact it has on people's lives. Whether it expresses a story of healing, community, cultural or family traditions, musicianship, travel experiences, an historical account, or any other experience with music, we invite you to tell your story. This opportunity is open to anyone, from anywhere in the world.

This page is intended to be a guide as you prepare your submission. If you need any help during the submission process, please contact us. We would be happy to assist you.
Deadline June 1, 2015.
Submission guidelines at

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