"An angry man — there is my story: the bitter rancor of Achilles..." Thus Homer begins The Iliad. When does a story begin? To answer it, you must understand your story thoroughly. Author John Kessel says a story begins when a situation loses balance. Homer begins his story when Agamemnon insults Achilles at the siege of Troy, and as a result soon the souls of champions glut Hell while dogs and ravens feast on their corpses. Star Wars begins when Princess Leia sends a desperate plea for help that falls into the hands of her long-lost brother who, eventually, destroys the evil Empire.
Here are some possible story beginnings:
● This made-for-TV movie begins when a wildlife biology crew comes to a ghost town on Mars to study the creatures who have made homes in the empty buildings.
● This cyberpunk story begins as artificially reformed convicts try to make their way in a society that doubts their transformations — transformations they themselves doubt.
● This story begins with Kenneth, the first baby born after the human population exceeds the supply of reincarnated souls.
— Sue Burke