Remember your first day at school? When you walked into the classroom for the first time?
Maybe the first time you went to the beach and jumped from a tall rock into the sea?
What about when you had your driver’s licence test? Remember how that one felt?
Sure, for some it was OK…no sweat.
But a lot of us were nervous. I mean, even if you were cool with it you must have had friends who were worried they were going to fail their driving test. Maybe they closed their eyes and screamed as they jumped from that rock.. Being cool was very important back then, right?
And then, we did it anyway. The test finished and we took our driver’s licence. And when we got our heads out of the water and took that first breath, it didn’t seem so hard. Right? It was actually easier than it felt at first. Because unless we try, we just can’t be sure.
-OK, but what does this have to do with starting a story creatively?
It’s quite simple actually. You see..
One way or another we all have to tell a story at some point.
For some, it’s their job. To write for the company’s blog. Or the copy for their ads.
For others it’s something that has to be done sometimes. Like a presentation. Or a guest post. A podcast. A wedding toast..
Whatever the reason, how you start your story is important. If you’re not used to writing, it can be hard. So, how do you overcome it?
If you wait for inspiration to write you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter. -Dan Poynter
The creative start is a ‘cool’ way to do it, and it’s actually a very simple one. No need for special lessons, or fancy language.
So, what is “creative”?
Well, one way to explain creativity, is to bring together two seemingly irrelevant concepts, and make them fit into each other.
You know, like “Cowboys and Aliens” (that’s a movie)..
or in our case..
“your driver’s licence exam” and “creative openings”.
-Right. And how can I do this every time?
-Simple. You just find the word -or words- that best describes your main point.
In this case, it is “something that is easier than it seems”.
So, “starting your story with a creative opening is easier than it seems”.
What is easier than it seems? I came out with the first day at school. Or an exam. Or a seemingly “dangerous” game, and how they proved to be easier than we thought after we went through the experience.
You find the main idea, and you tell a small story; just a paragraph (or two if you feel like it).
And, voila! You have a creative opening. Two irrelevant ideas, that come together to make sense, and start your story.
Here’s another example..
Let’s say I want to write an article about dealing with the consequences of your actions.
One way to start could be a story about a house fire.
The owner fell asleep holding a lit cigarette.
He/she suddenly woke up from all the smoke, and called the fire department.
The house was saved with minimal damages, thanks to the fast response of the firefighters. But when everyone left, the owner is left with the task of cleaning and repairing the house. Someone has to do it. How will the owner deal with the consequences? What about lifestyle changes?
House fire / Consequences of our actions.
Irrelevant terms (at first), that come together to tell a story.
Once you do it a couple of times, it will be very easy to come up with these openings.
In the rare case you get stuck, just “google it”. Literally go to google search, and type your main idea. Look at the results, the photos, the videos.. you will find it.
Like all other parts in non-fiction writing, if you have a framework, you can start, develop, and finish a piece worth reading, quite easily.
So, find the main point, tell a story about it, and create your piece.
Take care, and be safe everybody,