Fiction Ed’s Blog: Starting Your Story

Shutterstock / tomertu ©

Welcome to this week’s Fiction Ed’s blog, now in a regular Thursday morning slot.

We feature news from the Team; writing hints and tips; what we’re looking for at any given time; and occasionally bits and bobs from our fascinating Archive.

If there’s anything you’d like to read about, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line at

This week, let’s think about the importance of getting your story off to a strong start.

Starting Your Story

I read an interesting article recently, by novelist Liz Nugent in the Guardian online, talking about the importance of a strong opening line.

I thought it might be helpful to look at the importance of writing a compelling story opening, in terms of fiction for “The People’s Friend”.

Once Upon A Time

You may have read our piece recently on the importance of ending your story conclusively –

It’s equally – or perhaps even more – important to start your story off on a strong footing. Why?

The title and first line/s encourage your reader to read on. This is your opportunity to grab your reader’s interest. What, where, who, why – that’s what you’re establishing here.

At this point, you’re establishing the tone of your story, plus other essentials such as era, season, and location – you’re giving your reader a solid idea of what to expect.

You’re introducing your reader to your characters and to their world. You’re taking them on a journey and this is the starting point.

Fiction In The “Friend”

When the Team are considering your submissions, we won’t stop reading because the first line/s aren’t the strongest.

But it’s fair to say that by the end of the first page, we can usually tell if a story is going to be successful.

So it’s worthwhile paying attention to Page One.




Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!