12 Clichés To Avoid When Beginning Your Story

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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.

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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!