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Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

I need particular help in something. I have no idea how to start a story. Numerous questions keep clogging my mind like, Should I write a prologue? Should I use the overly used words, Once upon a time? Should I start a story with the words, Imagine if and write with powerful imagery to make the readers get hooked to the story? I need some tips on how to start Chapter 1, a Prologue, Words to hook the reader and more.

Currently, I plan to create a simple short story with an internal conflict. If you wish to know the plot, than basically it's a person fighting with his inner demons. It can be interpreted as a story about guilt and sadness.

Personally, I want to hook the readers to my story. I want them to be able to take the life lessons apparent in my short story. Thus, I also need help invoking emotions in my story. I mean, I know how to create characters which is to work on his personality and more importantly, his flaws.

Tl:dr? Basically, I request some thoughts and opinions on how to invoke emotions in a short story and good ways to hook the reader at the prologue or chapter 1.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

The best way to hook readers in the beginning is backstory. Give the character a backstory that'll bring emotion.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

I don't think it's the best way. :/ Dumping the backstory on the reader isn't very good. It's like: "This is what happened. Notice me senpai~"

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

Well obviously it sounds stupid when you write it like that. I'm talking about telling it at some point in part 1 or something, not the very first page.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

"The best way to hook readers in the beginning is backstory" - MinnieKing

Notice the underline. "Hook" typically refers to the beginning, and you even wrote "in the beginning" to reinforce that idea.

EDIT: I like what Ogre11 said.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

In the beginning doesn't have to refer to the very first part.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago
The hook does kinda, but nevermind. :/

I actually do need to write an emotion-invoking storygame, but I'm not actually very good at it unless it's a gloomy emotion. :(

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago
Well now you've learned the importance of phrasing for clarity.

And since the OP was asking specifically about how to start off the story, it would be easy to think that was what you were suggesting.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

Oh look, Crescentstar is pointing out that MinnieKing is being retarded. Cool. I love it when the children discipline each other.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

Oh hey look, it's Steve.

...

Every fucking time

Guess that's me, the awesomest retard ever. 

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago
It's not "discipline", and I don't agree that MinnieKing is retarded.
And MinnieKing is right to some degree, but he didn't answer Plelb's question.

@Plelb (hopefully I spelled it right)
The invoking emotions part is typically harder to do at the very beginning (because you're still just setting things up), but depending on the mood, you can make the atmosphere in such a way that the reader feels tense/worried/whatever. Once, perhaps, you get past that brief mention of back story and start adding "why's", you can make the protagonist do shit and think shit or be done by shit so that we feel for him/her. I'm actually taking that advice from the way "Throne of Glass" was written at first (of you want to check it out - or not).

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

Yes, you did spell it right

Personally, I agree with you that Minnie is kind of right, just didn't answer my question clearly.

@Crescentstar (I think I spelled it correctly) I plan to make my readers feel the atmosphere in the story greatly. Along with world building and all, I believe it's a little hard to make readers feel for the characters in the story and get moved at the end of the story. It's actually quite hard to get readers to feel an emotion in a story because of the lack of graphics... that is, unless the emotion is a negative emotion like sadness and anger. Do you have any tips on how to make readers care for your protagonist, side characters and how to make them get touched by the story?

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago
Make your characters have weaknesses and vulnerability; this makes them feel human, thus the reader will relate. They can fear drowning or insects or fire; fears are also a good way to show that perhaps something happened before that caused the person to feel that way.

Positive emotions are what I'm struggling with as well. I'm trying to use a weakness in this case too. We have to try to make the reader empathize/sympathize with the protagonist. What do acts of kindness do to the protagonist or some other character? Try to push emotions into the words as well.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

Yes, I know that I should put flaws. MrMustachio made an interesting point. This is what he said, "It's one thing to know your character's personality, strengths and flaws, but it's another to know how to incorporate those aspects of your character into a story in which the reader will be taught a life lesson." Maybe to invoke emotions than I should do that?

Emotions in the dialogue of the story? Wouldn't the actions of the protagonist be much more touching than that? No? Alright.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago
Emotions through the words you use as the narrator.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago
It's actually quite hard to get readers to feel an emotion in a story because of the lack of graphics...

There, uh, there really are no words for this statement. At least none I have the time to type right now. But, holy shit.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

Yeah, it really shouldn't be hard, as Mizal said. Like, it shouldn't be in anyway harder than with graphics.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago
If you describe your characters correctly, you don't need any graphics. It's not hard at all.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago
For one thing, they're called illustrations. But seriously, there is something truly broken within the brain of any individual who can't feel an emotion without pretty pictures to assist them.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

Thank god he's not blind.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

Yeah, because as we know, blind people are not human.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

Definitely not. The wise words of BlueSabere

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago
Damn, now 3J believes that too? I think I should just take it as a compliment. :)

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

No, he's not right, and yes, he's being retarded.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

How are you describing your character? It's one thing to know your character's personality, strengths and flaws, but it's another to know how to incorporate those aspects of your character into a story in which the reader will be taught a life lesson.

Also, do you have anything done for the story that you can present?

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago
I haven't started on the story yet so I can't really present anything.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago
Imagine if, once upon a time, [12 PARAGRAPHS OF BACKSTORY]. And then John was the demons.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago
For a short story, I'd suggest something even simpler: have a backstory, but don't describe it. In other words, if you're going into a short story about someone, that someone existed before the story ever started. The reader doesn't need to know everything that happened before the story started. In fact, they don't need to know ANYTHING about what happened before the story started! But YOU, as the author, need to know everything. If you want a detailed character, know all about that character. Figure out things like where they were born, what their parents were like, what kind of things they did on holidays. Don't write all that in the story, but if you know it, you will know how the character will act and react during the story.

The idea is that everyone has something that happened before, but readers don't need to know it. If you have a fully developed character and then just tell a bit about that character at a moment in time, that's a story in itself. Make the character real, and that will hook the reader more often than not.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago
For a short story, I'd suggest something even simpler: have a backstory, but don't describe it.

Yes, absolutely. I know I've brought this up before but it's something I can't recommend enough. You, as the author, should know everything about the setting and the lead up to the story and the character and everyone around them, but for God's sake don't inflict that on the reader except in small doses, when it actually adds something relevant to the story. Perhaps as part of the reveal of a twist when the reader absolutely needs to know something and you have absolutely no other way of getting it across. You definitely do NOT want to open with a bunch of backstory and exposition though, I can't think of a faster way to lose a reader's attention. You pretty much always want to start with something actually happening, and get the reader immediately in the character's head. Imagery to set the scene is all well and good, but make it through their eyes.

But Plelb, really, your best bet may just be finding a collection of short stories you like and analyzing what it is that makes them work. The pacing, introduction of characters and major plot points, etc. Look at what information is conveyed in the first line and first paragraph. This stuff, and the why and the how is all deliberate on the author's part. (Unlikely to find too many 'Once upon a times' among them, unless the authors are the Brothers Grimm...)

Also you're talking about a prologue and chapters and the like, which is confusing because those generally exist in longer works, not short stories.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago
^ Yes xD

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

Yeah, Ogre seems to know what he's talking about. Listen to him.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

John Wick is a fantastic example of that. The world should feel worn-in; people have been living in it, after all. 

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

Thank you everyone for all your tips and opinions about the subject! I just want to clarify the fact that I am gonna do a short CYOA, sorry for not clarifying that. Although, some tips still did help me out like Mizal's and Ogre's.

Anyways, I'm gonna start the story. Just a question, if I were to write a motivational thread, should I write about it in a separate thread or in another post here?

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago
Totally up to you, no big deal either way. You might want to start a new motivational thread just so that you're starting new and don't have the other clutter (like this very post) in it.

Good ways to start a story and invoke emotion?

2 years ago

Use change. Humans respond to a sudden change or the unexpected more than any other stimuli (for we are learning creatures by nature, and novel experiences intrigue us). 

A sudden chase in a thriller (too many to count) / a shot of a planet followed by a gigantic star destroyer or a frenetic space battle (all the star wars movies, after a calm opening text crawl) / an unexpected or startling or seemingly unnatural setting (Inception) are all examples of change (and surprising events). These opening events are doubly helpful as they give you a major story point to resolve in your work (what happened, why did it happen), and can hook an audience looking for an explanation (we need to finish that movie! What happened to the droids? Who was sending that message? Why?).

In your particular work, the person could be in the middle of a standoff, or standing at the edge of a cliff, or in some other unexpected circumstance. Use that change from the normal to get an early hook in.