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story beginnings
Can anyone recommend good ways how to start a story? (I realize this is a somewhat wide field.) Or recommend a website that deals with this topic? I´m looking for something that goes beyond starting with a dialogue or describing a person or place. If anyone can give me examples of beginnings that they found striking and original I´d be extremely grateful as well.

Thanks in advance.
Personally, I love to drop the reader into the middle of an active, lively moment -- midway through an argument, just before the hero goes blazing into the jailblock with gun in hand, right after sex when the partner's already fallen asleep, etc -- and drop hints in the next few paragraphs helping the reader fill in the blanks about what's going on.

Engaging the reader's mind in a mystery -- what's going on here? aha! Oh, aha! -- can help draw the reader in, and starting with something exciting/flavorful helps set tone and start the story with a whoosh instead of a slow buildup.

That's personal preference, however. I have no idea what the How To books would say.
I'm with Helluin on this. A good punch start is always nice as is the sense of mystery it can create. As long as the action is well described and fast paced the reader will happily read it and be content to wait ofr the explanation later. Having said that neither of my fics start that way!
One begins in a fairly standard way with the first meeting between the two characters befire getting into the action (it's not great but it does suit the story which is a fairly straight time-line set in only one location throughout). The second story starts with two non canon characters and the audience observe the arrival of the main character through their eyes. That worked quite nicely (I thought).
Starting a story can be a major sticking point. If you have writers block (and I know you haven't made any indication of that but just in case!) then I always write out the very bare bones of what you want to say before getting to a bit you can write. You can then come back to it later.

Hope that helps

Jen
Thanks to both of you. Your suggestions and advice are definitely helpful!
I like a good punch, then some backtracking on the way, also. One thing I also like is someone reminiscing over something. Just watch out for something along the lines of:

begin remiscing
balaaslfjsdf.
end remiscing

Personally, it's annoying and distracts and bothers me. A slow start is good for me, too. If you've ever read Stephen King, you'd know what I'm talking about. A slow start that leads to action is awesome for me, too.
While I may not drop the reader into some frantic action, I do start with a bit of mystery. Then backtrack for information. I do not start out with all the information, either, but choose to dole it out at odd times; then the reader can say, "Oh, so that is why...". Of course, I have been criticized for not giving out all the info up front. But, enough readers have written that things progressed well enough and the info given at the time was sufficient. Well, not here, of course. LOL
for my stories I usually have the main character alone and being dragged off.In my current one(not on here yet)I have the main character standing on a huge building and its pouring.Then he says,"It's been twenty years,and I still haven't redeemed myself.",But hey,I'm a begginner.