One of the first things we learn when writing sentences in English class is to start with a person, place or thing then add a verb.
Example: Carissa wants to become a better writer. She will read “Grammar and Writing for Creators” from cover to cover. She is determined to succeed. Carissa doesn’t always have enough time to study, but she will try to find the time.
While these sentences are grammatically sound, the elementary structure will get BORING in a book. No one will keep reading chapters when every sentence is the same style over and over. Let’s break the formula and use new, exciting ways to start sentences for your book.
Creative and Powerful Sentence Starters
I recommend adding variety and style to your sentences. It’s best to keep these in mind when you’re writing the draft, but if you notice the same types of sentences repeatedly when editing your story, that works too.
1. Use an infinitive phrase: To improve her writing, Carissa will read Grammar and Writing for Creators.
2. Use a prepositional phrase: After feeling embarrassed yet again, Carissa has decided to buy a grammar book to help her improve her writing.
3. Use a participial phrase: Tired of being a weak writer, Carissa has decided to read a grammar book to improve her writing.
4. Use parallelism Unsatisfied with being a lousy writer, distraught with the criticism of her recent report, and frustrated with the errors in her everyday writing, Carissa has decided to buy a grammar book to help her improve her writing.
5. Use a truncated clause: While busy, she’ll find the time to read the entire book.
This is great to use especially after a longer, more complex sentence like my parallelism example.
6. Use a noun appositive: Acting superstar Carissa plans to read a grammar book to improve her writing, as she prepares to write her memoir.
7. Use a noun absolute: A lady determined; Carissa will buy a grammar book to improve her writing.
8. Use an adverbial phrase: Swiftly, resolutely, and fastidiously, Carissa will study to improve her writing.
9. Use “pre-adjectival fragments: Embarrassed. Determined. Self-Motivated. Carissa has decided to improve her writing, starting today. Or forgo the fragments and do this: Embarrassed, determined, self-motivated—Carissa has decided to improve her writing, starting today.
10. Start with a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, for, yet, so, and nor): Carissa knows her writing needs help and plans to work on it soon. But she is not sure which grammar book to get.
Note: You don’t always have to use a comma after the coordinating conjunction at the beginning of the sentence. But I (and your book editor) will probably prefer you keep it consistent.
11. Start with a correlative conjunction (neither … nor, either … or, not only … but/also, etc.): Either she will improve now, or she will remain a weak writer. Neither her busy schedule nor her disheveled persona will prevent her from improving her writing this time. Carissa decided to not only study hard, but also practice daily to make sure she is grasping the important topics.
Many Sentence Options
With all those constructions to begin your sentences, you will no doubt write assorted and powerful sentences. You already have the natural creativity to write a compelling read. Now go reveal, delight, instruct, and charm with your fine writing. I believe in you! Share your favorite way to start a sentence with me on my Facebook page!
Since You’re Here…Let’s Practice!
I've included some of my favorite writing prompts below.