The Golden Pen Award

How to Open Your Story

Share this

The 2021 Golden Pen Writing Award is open for submissions and we are waiting to hear from YOU. Don’t wait for the start of the New Year to fulfil your resolution to write more – get started now by putting pen to paper and sharing your great ideas on the 2021 theme BIG & SMALL.

No matter what style or genre you are writing in, the opening of your story is one of the most important elements, and writing a great opening is a hard skill to master.

Why is it so important?

The opening is the moment that unlocks the door for the reader and draws them in. Reading a story requires time and dedication and readers want to be satisfied. Your job as an author is to get them invested and ultimately keep them turning the page.

How do you do this?

There are a number of ways to draw your reader in and we’ve included a few below to get your creative wheels spinning.

The Hook

Throw the reader straight into the action by opening with something that makes them want to find out more and come on the journey with you.

There are different ways of doing this – you could start with a surprising statement, a BIG shocking reveal, or maybe a SMALL reveal that provides mystery and intrigue. You can introduce your main character in a moment of conflict, or perhaps they are experiencing something that will change their world.


Introduce your main character. Connection to character is an important thing to establish, you want your reader to be interested in your character and have a desire to know more about them. They will be spending lots of time with them as they read your story so it’s important to create relatable characters.


Establish the setting early on as this helps to shape your story, giving the reader an idea of time and place and also a sense of what to expect. Setting also works to set the mood and the tone of a story which is another vital way to get your reader involved – are we in a haunted castle? A strange world?

Action and Dialogue

You want to get the story moving. Actions are a great way to give the reader a sense of your main character (s) and plot. Dialogue is also a useful tool, it can assist with establishing the backstory without bogging your reader down in pages of description and explanations.



Get your reader invested! How are they feeling reading your opening?  Excited, scared – they should definitely be feeling something. Emotions are the best way to connect your reader to the story.


No matter what the length of your work, your opening sets up the rest of your story for the reader, leading them into the middle and end, and ensuring that they stay immersed in your world.

Finding it hard?  What makes you excited about your story? Why did you want to write it? Your reader will be excited and interested by the same things so this a great place to start.

Still struggling? Don’t despair, sometimes the beginning only becomes clear when you are at the end and you have written the whole story, that’s why drafting and editing your work is so essential (and something we will touch on in more detail in a later blog post).

For now, it is important to take note of the above but the MOST important thing is to write your story – so keep going!


Take a trip to your local public library and head to the shelf that most closely reflects your genre and style of writing.  Choose a selection of books and read the first couple of pages. What did you notice? What made you want to read more?

Check-in with the Scribblers Blog in the New Year to get some more tips and tricks to help you with your writing and learn more about how to submit your story to The Golden Pen Writing Award.