How to start a story Storytelling guide

How to start a story: mastering intriguing character introductions

A strong start to a story is like opening a door to a new world for your readers. Among the first steps through that door is meeting the characters, especially the main ones. This post zeroes in on the art of creating engaging character introductions as you embark on a storytelling journey.

Whether you’re penning a novel, scripting a screenplay, or drafting a comic, this guide aims to equip budding writers with the essence of captivating character introductions across various mediums.

1. The Importance of Character Introductions

Character introductions are the gateway to unfolding narratives. They are like handshakes; the first impression readers get about who they’ll journey with. A well-crafted introduction can spark a bond between the character and the reader, setting the tone for a meaningful engagement throughout the narrative.

2. Elements of a Captivating Character Introduction

  • Uniqueness: What sets your character apart? Is it their quirky personality, a unique skill, or a mysterious past? Highlighting a unique trait can pique readers’ interest.
  • Conflict: Introducing a challenge or dilemma associated with the character early on can propel the narrative forward, urging readers to root for the character.
  • Connection: Crafting a relatable or emotionally resonant introduction can forge a deeper connection with the audience.

3. Techniques for Introducing Characters

  • Show, don’t tell: Instead of telling the readers that your character is brave, show them through actions or situations.
  • Dialogue: Effective dialogue can reveal character personalities, beliefs, and dynamics with others in a natural, engaging manner.
  • In-media-res: Starting in the midst of action can unveil character traits in a gripping, dynamic way.

3.1. Examples of Effective Character Introductions

We can look at how authors, screenwriters, and other creatives introduce characters in works like Harry Potter, the TV show Breaking Bad, or the comic book series Spider-Man. Analyzing these can shed light on the various techniques used to make character introductions engaging and memorable.

3.2. Common Pitfalls to Avoid

  • Over-exposition: Drowning readers in too much information can be overwhelming. It’s vital to find a balance.
  • Stereotyping: Relying on clichés or one-dimensional portrayals can result in flat, uninteresting characters.

3.3. Exercises to Hone Your Character Introduction Skills

Simple exercises like writing short character introduction scenes or analyzing introductions in your favorite books can be very beneficial. Getting feedback from writing groups or mentors can also be a priceless resource in refining your approach.


Mastering the art of character introductions is a crucial step in learning how to start a story. It’s an exciting expedition of showcasing who your characters are, setting the stage for the adventures that lie ahead. Experiment with different techniques to find what best serves your narrative, and remember, every introduction is a new beginning.

Dive into the comments to share your experiences or challenges with character introductions, and don’t forget to check out my previous post on starting a story for more insights.