12 Clichés To Avoid When Beginning Your Story

Author:
Publish date:

Read today's tip from Mary Kole's new book, Writing Irresistible Kidlit. In this excerpt, she shares some examples of common story beginnings that kidlit writers make.

Image placeholder title

Here are some of the most common openings I see, as they're almost always a rejection:

  • Waking Up: Avoid the first moments of the day, especially if your character is being snapped out of a dream.
  • School Showcase: A character introducing the requisite best friend and the school bully
  • Family Showcase: Introductions of parents, siblings, pets
  • Room Tour: A character sitting in her room, thinking, looking over her stuff
  • Emo Kid: A character sitting and thinking about all his problems
  • Normal No More: A character lamenting how normal, average, and/or lame her life is, which is the writer setting us up for the big change that's about to happen
  • Moving Van: A character in the car, driving to his new house, hating every minute of it
  • Mirror Catalogue: Looking at oneself and describing one's flaws, usually with a self-deprecating voice
  • Summer of Torture: A character lamenting how she has to do something that she doesn't want to do (live in a haunted house, go visit Grandma, work at the nursery) all summer long
  • New Kid: A character worrying about being the new kid on his first day of school or wizard training or the vampire academy
  • RIP Parents: One or both parental units kicking the bucket suddenly and tragically
  • Dystopian Selection: In the dystopian genre, it's the day of choosing jobs, getting selected for something awful, being paired with a soul mate, etc.

These are very common beginnings and all I ask is that, if you choose to forge ahead and brave one, make it fresh.

Buy Writing Irresistible Kidlit!

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 17

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a waiting poem.

GettyImages-119430542

Your Story #112

Write the opening line to a story based on the photo prompt below. (One sentence only.) You can be poignant, funny, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story.

Self-Published Ebook Awards

Announcing the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards! Discover the titles that placed in the categories of contemporary fiction, fantasy, memoir, mystery, and more.

Greg Russo: On Writing a Film Based on a Video Game

Greg Russo: On Writing a Screenplay Based on a Video Game

Professional screenwriter Greg Russo discusses the joy and challenge of converting a popular video games series into a screenplay and the balance of enticing a new audience while honoring a franchise's fans.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a city poem.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let a character fall under the influence of something or someone.

WD-PersonalEssay-2020-WinnerGraphic

Suspended: Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards Winner

Congratulations to J.E. Stamper, grand prize winner of the Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards. Here's his winning essay, "Suspended."

Planting Clues: Red Herrings That Fool but Don't Frustrate Your Readers

Planting Clues: Red Herrings That Fool but Don't Frustrate Your Readers

Want to know how to keep your readers engaged and entertained with your mystery novel? Let these six tips from thriller author Kris Calvin guide you!

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 15

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a blank story poem.