I was in a discussion recently, about how to begin a story. It was suggested that all information should be put in the beginning to give the rest of the story credibility. I said, however, that in order to create suspense and tension, it might be better to hold back and let some of the facts be put in later.
What is your idea about beginning a story? Do you like to jump in right in the middle of a scene? Or do you create the scene with backstory? I am sure that there are many different ideas. It also depends on the type of story. A mystery needs to have the backstory left to the middle or end so the reader has something left to the imagination. A sci/fi thriller needs suspense at the beginning and so on.
However you begin your story, you need to add the important elements: character, conflict and a credible plot.
character- a definite personality, with individual emotions that is shown her actions, thoughts and reactions.
conflict- from the very first sentence the story is set up with expectations of change, which is the catalyst for conflict. The project or story is fraught with pitfalls and turmoil that cause the reader to see the conflict.
credible plot- a believable idea that will be shown in description to be the basis for your story line. Does the reader believe what you are writing to be real? Even in sci/fi your created world needs to be believable.
However you begin your story, make sure you give your readers a hook that will keep them turning the pages. Do you put hooks in your story? I like to add them at the end of my chapters also. But this is about beginnings, so we'll stick to that. Make sure to create prose that is exciting and fun.
Did I leave anything out? Let me know if you have other ideas.