“There lived a princess. She lived in a large castle in the forest. The forest was dark. It was full of danger. The princess was brave. She thought she could ride her favorite horse along the path to go visit her friend in another castle. She ordered her horse saddled and set off with a smile.
She hadn’t gotten very far into the forest when suddenly she heard the frightening sounds of fierce beasts. She urged her horse on faster and faster. . . .”
And so the story goes. But wait–
Did you notice something about that story? Probably. At least if you weren’t too caught up with the princess. 🙂
That something is called sentence openers. Every sentence has to start with something. It just does. And, nearly every sentence in the start of that story above, started with a subject! She, she, it, forest (‘the’ doesn’t count but the word following it does), another she. Perhaps you hadn’t noticed all the subjects, but go read it again.
Do you see them now? What kind of writing does that sound like? Yep, an amateur. While that may be fine for a beginner writer, imagine trying to read a published novel that sounds like that!
But what can you do about it? How else can you start your sentences?
Let me give you six different ways you can vary the first word in your sentences.
(Use this as needed, by try not to have more than three or four sentences in a row start with “She/He or It. It gets old.)
I am sure you don’t need any samples of this sentence opener.
• When, Where, While, As, Since, If, Although
(These can be fun to use as long as you make sure the sentence has an ending.)
When you don’t have a proper ending, the sentence is going to just drop off.
“Where is the princess?” asked the king in great fear.
While time slipped away unnoticed, I was following the princess through the woods.
As the rain started, I dashed from the car and up onto the porch, thankful for the roof overhead.
Since there are still more things I should write, I will keep this short.
If you would like more samples, just ask.
Although this is not a very common way to start a sentence, you can have fun with it.
• A word ending in “ly”
(Now I know that there are some authors who say you should never use an “ly” word or at least very rarely, but if you never practice, how can you learn how to use them at all? Besides, some authors say you should never use the word “said” while others say you should never use anything but “said.” It’s all a matter of opinion.)
Slowly the princess crept through the forest, her eyes alert for danger.
• A word ending in “ing”
(This sentence opener is easy as there are unending words you can use!)
Seeing her horse standing in a little clearing, the princess was about to call her, but a sudden noise made her freeze.
(By the time you have finished memorizing all those prepositions, you probably were starting to wonder what good that long list was going to be. Well, here is one use for it.)
After the princess watched her horse trot off to disappear into the forest, she sat down on a log and sighed.
• Ask a question
(Questions can be a good way to pull your readers into a plot if there isn’t a lot of action at the moment.)
What had frightened the princess’s horse? Would she ever be able to find her horse, or her way back home?
There you have it. Six ways you can vary the start of your sentences to make the reading more enjoyable.
Do you have any other ways you like to start your sentences? What way do you find yourself starting your sentences the most often?