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Welcome to my blog. Here you will find tips that will help you write books and articles that establish you as the expert in your market.
                   --Lee Pound

April 2020
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How to Begin a Story

I promised everyone a few posts on stories since they are so important in persuasive writing.

Learning how to write a story correctly is one of the most important skills a writer can master. Of course novels are pure story but the techniques are exactly the same as those you use in non-fiction stories.

In non-fiction, a story is usually either a personal story, a testimonial, or a case study. These are true stories about real people and are used to place your product or ideas in an emotional context that shows exactly what it does and how it affects people.

A non-fiction story starts at exactly the same place a fictional story starts. Here are the key elements found at the beginning of a non-fiction story:

  • An intriguing opening line. This is critical. The opening line has one purpose, to get you to read the next line. It must introduce the character, create a question in the reader’s mind, and give hints as to what will come in the story.
  • The character’s status quo situation. This is where the character has been and what the character has done for a certain amount of time. In some stories it can be about a character who owns a business who has some success but is not satisfied.
  • A strong character who wants something badly. In the personal story, this character is you. In case studies or testimonials it is the person who uses your services. It is critical that the character have a strong desire or there is no story.
  • An event happens that changes the status quo. This launches the story. It can be a negative event in the character’s life such as the loss of a job or major client or a positive event like a marriage or birth of a child. The key element is that the status quo changes.
  • The character takes action to deal with the new situation. The character must act or there is no story. It can be that the character goes to seminars to learn how to deal with the new situation. However, any action will do.
  • The character meets opposition. This must also be present or there is no story. The opposition can be human, animal, inanimate, an idea, or a belief. The key is that it stops the character from getting what he or she wants. The opposition must be credible.

Every story you write must contain these steps. In many cases the writer will condense the opening into just a few sentences or a paragraph.

When you begin a story this way, you pique the reader’s curiosity, give them a character they can identify with and understand, and get them emotionally involved in the process.

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