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70 Opening Paragraph Examples to Kickstart Your Story

Starting a fiction story is no small task. It's often said that the beginning is the most important part of any tale. Yet crafting that perfect opening paragraph or sentence can sometimes feel elusive, even to the most seasoned writers. It's a delicate balance, introducing a new world and its inhabitants in a way that is both engaging for readers and true to the narrative that follows.

To assist with this, we have created 70 opening paragraph examples. Here, you'll find starting paragraphs for fiction genres including fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction, thriller and suspense, and western. Each example offers a potential pathway into a narrative, providing a foundation that you can build upon to craft your own unique tale.

Please note that this material is copyrighted by ServiceScape and is designed to be used for writing inspiration. We encourage you to use our ideas as fertile ground to grow your own unique stories. Should you find one of our example opening paragraphs to be the perfect launchpad for your next tale, there's no need to credit us — although we'd certainly appreciate it. A simple link to ServiceScape is enough.

One caveat: Please do not publish our example opening paragraphs as-is, in their entirety without attribution. This is not the intended use.

As you explore the various ways to start a story, we hope you find the inspiration you're seeking. Happy writing!


  1. The sky tore open with a roar, signaling the arrival of beings of light in the medieval world of Elarion. These warriors, with their electrifying presence, brought with them the promise of change, merging realms and forging unexpected alliances in a world that had known only traditional bounds until now.
  2. Thalia stood amidst figures draped in twilight hues, ready for the celestial conference — a gathering rooted in ancient magic, where dreams and fears intermingled. She was a young delegate with old eyes, prepared to share and receive wisdom in dialects forgotten by time. It was a meeting of minds, of secrets whispered in the canvas of the night, inviting the brave to witness and listen.
  3. "Curiosity, they often told me, is a dangerous thing, Cray," the wind seemed to whisper as young Cray ventured deeper into the realms of his dreams, far beyond the reality known to the villagers. Guided by whispers and the glow of moon-soaked stones, he found himself approaching the ancient door that stood at the world's end — the gateway to mysteries untold.
  4. Lord Draven sat alone in his study, poring over ancient texts. The castle that housed generations stood tall, but as he thought about his impulsive heir, Callum, the walls seemed to close in on him. The long lineage of wisdom seemed threatened, and as twilight descended, Draven wondered if his legacy would find a respectful steward in the young man or face ruin.
  5. Young Onar lay in bed, lost in dreams fueled by the elders' tales of golden trees and wandering islands in an endless sea. His deep blue eyes saw more in the dream realm than in the waking world — mermaids singing in distant waters, seashells whispering secrets. He awoke with a determination to unravel the mysteries that danced on the edges of his dreams.
  6. With a heavy heart, Ser Delan meandered through the courtyard littered with memories of a happier time. It had only been hours since the dreadful news reached him — the northern lands had fallen. Anger, sorrow, and a whisper of hope fought within him as he grappled with the shocking turn of events, trying to formulate a pledge of vengeance amidst the ruins of his homeland.
  7. In the heart of the untouched forest, the Stoneborn were awakening — elemental beings birthed from the earth itself. Somewhere nearby, a deer raised its head, sensing the shift in the world's equilibrium. It was a quiet yet profound change, a rebirth dictated by an ancient pact forged to preserve the balance between man and nature.
  8. Beatrice walked with determination, her senses alive to the magical pulses of the city that breathed around her. Lanterns glowing softly guided her through streets rich with secrets and untold stories, whispering to her of alliances to be forged in the heart of the night. It was a path laden with promises, each step bringing her closer to the unseen spirits eager to connect.
  9. In the silent streets of the sleeping town, a celestial creature roamed — a rare sight, with feathers that bore the depth of night skies and eyes that held galaxies. To a watching cat, this being was an enigma, a creature of starlight and cosmic dreams, and to those who would witness its path, a promise of stories spun from the grand tapestries of the cosmos.
  10. Meriel felt a hand on her shoulder, breaking her trance. She found herself amidst the villagers under the glow of twin moons, watching figures in maroon cloaks emerge from the forest. An initiation — the Breaking — was underway, and the deep voice that spoke next hinted that her life was about to take a turn: "Fate, untethered, seeks the brave."


  1. Sam Berringer hurried down Harrowville's main street, an unsettling energy urging him forward. The children, the elderly — everyone felt it, a prelude to catastrophe. As the sun arched toward the west, he couldn't shake off the fear gnawing at him, a fear of the irreversible change that would come with the sunset.
  2. Alma stood frozen in front of her peculiar house — the one that leaned to one side just a little too much. It had whispered secrets to her in the still of the night for as long as she could remember. But today, as she approached it, it seemed almost like it was trying to scream something terrible, something dark.
  3. Young Thomas Kale found himself tracing back to the early moments of his morning, before the sky had clouded over with a foreboding atmosphere that seeped into Lakeshire's streets. His mind raced through recent memories, trying to pinpoint when exactly the world had tilted from comforting familiarity into chaotic, swirling danger.
  4. Lestra moved briskly through the rooms, the heavy history of New Orleans surrounding her in whispers of past and present mingling uncomfortably. The old home was more alive today, more demanding. She paused, realizing the house wasn't just a repository of long-buried family secrets; it had become a character in the unfolding drama, urging her to unearth truths tied to the land's very soil.
  5. Ashton Creed stared at the grotesque shapes taking over his once beautiful garden. The weird, twisted faces emerging from the petals were unlike anything he had ever seen. With a sudden chill, he realized this wasn't just an anomaly; it was a horrifying invitation to a reality he had never anticipated, where the natural order of things was breaking down.
  6. Eleanora wandered the forbidden areas of Eldridge, a place cloaked in tales and whispered fears. As she ventured deeper, the unspoken rules that kept others at bay seemed insignificant, a foolish barrier between her and the truth. The quiet bravery blossoming within her spurred her on, ready to pull back the curtain and expose whatever darkness lurked there, waiting.
  7. Gregory found himself in a world where rain carried the smell of decay, a stark departure from the town he knew just yesterday. The change was grotesque, impossible, and yet it was happening right before his eyes. A sense of duty overcame him, a resolve to trace this terror to its source, though every step forward felt like a step into the unknown.
  8. The world blurred at the edges as Martha Cray found herself unable to discern reality from illusion. Every step forward felt like a journey into the unknown, questions multiplying with each heartbeat. Yet deep within her, a fire burned, a desire to untangle the knot of confusion and fear that wound tighter with every passing moment.
  9. Ember Hollow was engulfed in an all-consuming obsession that masked itself as love. As the residents succumbed to overpowering desires, it was as if a dark spell had been cast over the town. The air crackled with passion and danger, a looming darkness turned love grotesque, threatening to transform affection into a force voracious and uncontrollable.
  10. Reverend David Amery stood silent in the chapel, holding a child that seemed to be both a beacon of hope and a harbinger of doom. He felt a chilling premonition, an unraveling future where heavenly battles between good and evil threatened to spill into their world, centered around this innocent being cradled in his arms. The burden of what to do next weighed heavily on him, every choice carrying a shadow of peril.


  1. The gunshot echoed, a stark interruption in the early morning quiet. Inspector Devereux turned sharply, heart pounding in his chest, knowing that a life might have just been irrevocably altered. In the square, faces emerged from windows, all drawn to the sudden burst of violence that intruded upon their morning routines.
  2. Inspector Ainsley stood rooted to the spot, the whispers of a secret echoing in the halls of the great London institution that had stood for centuries. A whispered rumor about a lost artifact that was believed to be a mere myth. The inspector's mind raced, filled with questions — who had taken it, why now, and what dark secrets would it unveil?
  3. Dublin seemed like a different city in Kilroy's childhood memories. As a child, the streets had been wider, the sky bluer, and dreams bigger. Now as Detective Kilroy stood there, a surreal feeling engulfed her, as if she was meeting an old friend after many years. The city whispered old secrets in her ears, luring her into a maze of past and present.
  4. Oxford was a place of academic rigour and tradition, unchanged in many ways since its foundation. Yet, for Professor Thurgood, the landscape had altered subtly overnight. The walls seemed to speak of something sinister, a dark underbelly that was gradually coming to the surface, promising to change the university and its inhabitants forever.
  5. Los Angeles lay sprawled under a sun that seared unkindly, a city of extremes where dreams either blossomed wildly or withered mercilessly. Detective Hale breathed in the acrid air, feeling it resonate with the city's pulse of desperation and unspoken desires. It was a place of contrasts, and something in the atmosphere that day spoke of changes on the horizon, of simmering tensions reaching a boiling point.
  6. "You know, I used to be someone else," Vanessa murmured to herself as she navigated through a world of wealth and detached smiles. Her voice carried a weight of sadness, a longing for simpler times before deceit and hidden agendas became her daily currency. As she uttered those words, it was as if she was preparing herself, steeling herself for the path that lay before her, a path paved with secrets, betrayals, and perhaps, a chance for redemption.
  7. The siren wailed urgently, breaking the deep silence of the night as Detective Rawlins sped through the city streets, the grim reflection of neon lights flashing across his stern face. His heartbeat echoed in his ears, a frantic drum heralding a plunge into the chaotic underbelly of a city burdened with secrets and sins that were about to spill into the harsh light of day.
  8. A scream reverberated through the cold streets of Boston, where history met modernity at every corner. Detective O'Sullivan raced toward the source, his mind filled with dreadful possibilities. The city seemed to hold its breath, awaiting the revelation of a mystery that promised to expose the sins of the present intertwined deeply with echoes of the past.
  9. Jack Tracer could still hear the optimistic words of his younger self as he looked out over the roads stretching into the horizon, a beacon of endless possibilities. But the roads were different now, marked with signs of conflict and betrayal. Tracer knew that the vibrant pulse of America he had once felt had transformed into something more sinister, pulling him into a vortex of dark secrets that lay hidden in the depths of human souls.
  10. In Mississippi, a courtroom buzzed with tense energy, a microcosm of a world teetering between justice and corruption. Elias Harper stood there, a young lawyer on the cusp of unraveling a tangled web woven from power and greed, grounded by a steadfast belief in justice. As he looked around, he knew that the path that awaited him was fraught with moral dilemmas and truths that could shake the foundations of the society he was a part of.


  1. Maeve Delaney sprinted between the rows of grapevines, her heart pounding in time with her swift footsteps. The phone call had come at the worst possible moment, a harbinger of change right as she had begun to find peace amidst the ancestral vines.
  2. It was amidst the laughter and swirling aromas of the bustling room that Jamison's gaze locked with that of a stranger—a stranger who somehow seemed familiar. Every fiber of his being urged him to find out who she was, to unearth the secret stories that lived within her alluring gaze.
  3. Lady Daphne found herself lost in the echoing halls of grandeur, a relic from a past age thrust into the modern whirlwind of the London season. As she maneuvered gracefully through the lively corridors, whispers of her hidden, youthful liaisons with a past love reverberated in her heart, a secret key to understanding her present self.
  4. The morning embraced Loretta with a kiss of warm sun as she stepped out into the post-reconstruction Georgia. She bore in her veins the dreams and aspirations of generations, and today was a testament to the unfettered spirit of resilience and change that echoed through the mighty oaks dotting the landscape.
  5. Elara wandered the quaint streets of the seaside town, a place where the cobblestone paths narrated stories of countless lives intertwined in a rich tapestry of human experiences. Each step she took was guided by an unwavering empathy, an open heart ready to receive the myriad currents of romance that flowed through the town's veins.
  6. "I've always felt somewhat apart from all this," Miss Elspeth Harrington mused aloud, her sharp eyes dissecting the kaleidoscope of romantic entanglements that painted her village in vibrant hues of emotion. Despite her rationality, a quiet hope whispered within her, suggesting the possibility of a connection that was truly her own.
  7. John found himself on the North Carolina shore with no memory of how he arrived. The waves gently lapped at his feet, as if trying to soothe the raw, unyielding pain that enveloped him, reminding him of the love lost and the void it left behind—a gaping wound that yearned for healing and redemption.
  8. "Why am I here?" Olive asked herself as she ventured into the realm of love, a landscape fraught with uncertainty and juxtaposed realities. Her cynicism danced with hopeful romanticism, promising adventures that defied the logic she held so dear, yet irresistibly pulling her into a whirlpool of the extraordinary and the mundane.
  9. As Miss Amelia Cavendish sat in the meticulously arranged parlor of the Fairbrook estate, memories of secret meetings in the dawn's early light flooded back, shaking the foundations of her meticulously built world. Hidden desires, once locked away, surged forward, compelling her to question the stringent rules of society that confined her.
  10. In a bustling café bathed in golden afternoon hues, Elara found herself at a pivotal crossroads in her life—a divergence between the predictable and the unknown. Each patron carried stories untold, lives unfolding in synchronous harmony, setting the stage for encounters both ephemeral and potentially life-altering as she navigated the modern world of digitalized romances and fleeting connections.

Science fiction

  1. "What did it say?" Elira rushed towards the eldest, her heart beating in harmony with the grand hall's pulsating rhythm. Each person here was a walking library, with minds rich in lifetime-cultivated knowledge, and it was in this cacophony of wisdom and curiosity that young apprentice Elira was about to dive deeper than ever before.
  2. Dr. Kael's breath caught as he lifted the prism, galaxies swirling within it, whispering the secrets of the universe. In the solitude of the Intergalactic Archive, surrounded by ancient relics of knowledge, Kael faced a mystery that beckoned him into a complex dance with the celestial unknown.
  3. Xan couldn't shake the vision from last night, the luminescent plants weaving tales of distant worlds through their ethereal glow. In the comet's subterranean tunnels, where Xan tended to his garden, he was beginning to unlock the secret language of the cosmos, and today, the plants seemed to be urging him on a journey unlike any before.
  4. Aria Sandoval felt the pulse of a thousand worlds bearing down on her as she orchestrated the symphony of diplomacy that held the United Interstellar Communities together. With every gesture and word chosen with meticulous care, she was a conductor for peace, wielding strategy and empathy in equal measures.
  5. The lost era summoned him, acting as a beacon from a time when harmony and light graced the world. As Professor Mallick gazed through his newly invented tool, glimpses of the distant past unveiled themselves, pulling him into an obsession with understanding the beauty that once was.
  6. Taelia felt the ancient song resonate in her bones, a harmony forged from the whispers of the trees and the gentle murmurs of the river. As she ventured deeper into the forest towards the old world-tree Yorlin, the young seeker grasped at the tendrils of knowledge flowing through the interconnected dance of life unfolding before her.
  7. Dr. Lin stood at the threshold of the physical and the abstract, lost in the fluid dance of geometric patterns and swirling equations. This was the underlying narrative of the universe, a mathematical tapestry waiting to unravel its greatest secrets under Lin's eager gaze.
  8. "This isn't real," Detective Calder muttered, stepping through the shattered boundaries between the real and the surreal. In a world fractured into countless realities, each case became a mind-bending journey into human consciousness, a labyrinth where dreams held more weight than reality.
  9. The city whispered stories to Ansel as he wandered its living streets, where buildings breathed and paths pulsed with life. Every element shared secrets, weaving tales of wonder from sunlight and leaf whispers, kindling the young boy's sense of fascination and urging him to look deeper, to see the magic in the everyday.
  10. "Ready?" The virtual landscape stretched infinitely before Alias, a realm forged from codes and streams of data. With each digital spell cast, she unraveled the virtual world's closely guarded secrets, a hacker embarking on quests filled with hidden knowledge, and mysteries waiting to be unearthed.

Thriller and suspense

  1. Mitch Rapp's heart pounded in his chest as he stepped into the desolate place that barely clung to hope. Every step was both a discovery and a threat, guided only by skills forged in unseen battlefields. The small town stretched before him, its troubles hiding behind forlorn structures. Mitch was ready to unearth every one of them.
  2. Lily paused, the too-bright day casting deep shadows that clashed with the smiles of the overly joyous people around her. The uneasy feeling grew with each step, fueled by a deep-seated intuition that recognized the deceit permeating the air, masked by pristine houses and manicured lawns. The apparent perfection held a secret, and she was determined to unravel it.
  3. The only sound disturbing the silent, fog-swathed morning was Thomas Elster's footsteps. As he ventured deeper into the obscured streets, memories from past mornings crowded in, each one revealing a hidden cruelty, a secret kept in daylight's shadow. Each step forward was a step back in time, preparing him to reveal yet another tale hidden in the cracks of daily life.
  4. Below the rush of Cyan's breath and pounding heart lay a city struggling under the weight of corruption. Each leap across the rooftops became a statement, a rebellion against the darkness festering below. Every painful inhalation was a testament to her determination to cleanse the place, regardless of the personal cost.
  5. Eli Doyle was a shadow in a crowd of substance, moving with a purpose only he understood, with every heartbeat echoing concealed danger and impending action. The vibrant city beat rhythmically around him, unaware of the perilous dance about to unfold as Eli maneuvered closer to the epicenter of chaos.
  6. "You wouldn't believe the stories these trees could tell," David Hunter whispered to himself, moving deliberately through the whispering forest. Each step forward was accompanied by the soft chorus of leaves sharing tales of a nation in distress, a world on the verge of chaos. David was a solitary figure in a living, breathing repository of secrets, ready to stand against the shadows threatening to engulf everything.
  7. In the heart of the operations room, Admiral Sarah Jennings surveyed the geopolitical landscape displayed on digital maps. The world resembled a chessboard of shifting alliances and burgeoning rivalries. Sarah stood firm, a beacon of resolve, prepared to steer her nation through the tumultuous waters that lay ahead.
  8. In a room heavy with the weight of history, Professor Adrian Kane felt a pull towards the ancient texts that promised hidden truths. The boundary between science and mysticism blurred as he delved deeper, ready to uncover knowledge that might alter the very fabric of human understanding.
  9. Darkness fell, casting the city into a world of shadow and mystery where Jaden found himself an unwilling hero. A silent battle raged in the hidden corners of the night, a conflict of good against evil that beckoned him, drawing him deeper into its ancient, cosmic pulse.
  10. The message pierced the tranquility of Alex's Sunday morning with cold, sharp words slicing through the screen and shattering the illusion that held his life together. Suddenly, he found himself on the brink, facing shadows from his past that threatened to engulf the life he had so carefully built, revealing dark secrets eager to flood into the light.


  1. As Jedediah trod upon the undisturbed soil, the grandeur of the landscape lay before him, a tapestry woven from golden grasses and deep crimson canyons. Yet, a deeper purpose fueled his steps: a secret nestled in the heart of the untamed land, ancient and waiting to be unraveled.
  2. In the heart of the Texas plains, whispers of change caught on the wind traveled from person to person, stitching a thread of fragile hope across weary hearts. As evening descended, stretching shadows across the land, it became a visual echo of the hopes and dreams nestled in the souls of the toiling populace, each one harboring a tender wish nourished by the day's end.
  3. Amid the wild frontier, a group of unlikely companions formed — a lawman hardened by time, a naïve young cowhand, a native steeped in wisdom, and a madam with eyes that bore untold stories. Though their paths were distinct, they began to entwine, pulled together by the strings of a fate yet unrevealed.
  4. Under an unyielding sky, a determined band pushed forth, each step echoing with hopes and dreams yet unfulfilled. Driven by a shared vision of what lay beyond the horizon, the beating of hooves against the earth marked their united rhythm, a heartbeat of collective ambition and raw, unyielding determination.
  5. From above, a lone vulture surveyed the ever-changing narratives below, a dance of tiny figures drawn on the vast canvas of the earth. A sense of mounting tension permeated the air, hinting at unfolding dramas, with lives on the verge of collision in the ruthless theater of survival.
  6. As darkness embraced the world, a group of weary souls gathered around a flickering campfire, the moon casting a silent witness to their shared solitude. Among them, a figure stood poised, embodying a resolve forged from the day's labor, eyes fixed on the dark expanse, ready to guide them through the uncertainties that awaited with the dawn.
  7. In a land that demanded sacrifice, dreams forged from resilience blossomed stubbornly. Individuals from different walks of life united, driven by a shared longing for warmth and community, building bonds stronger than the harsh conditions of the frontier, their collective will inscribing a narrative of hope upon the unforgiving canvas.
  8. The wild lands bore silent testimony to the lives that ventured through its expanses, a vibrant backdrop awaiting new stories to grace its surface. It held both potential and peril, a vast stage ready to play host to tales of courage, loss, and unexpected bonds forged in adversity.
  9. Pastor Grey stood contemplating the essence of the frontier, a realm that sculpted both brutality and kindness from those who dared to call it home. Guided by deep-seated conviction, he embraced his mission to foster a community that thrived in harmony with the untamed spirit breathing life into the west.
  10. Ember Creek vibrated with the tenuous dance between hope and despair, a pulsating rhythm guiding the lives of its denizens. At its helm, Sheriff Hannah Callahan bore witness to the simmering pot of dreams and secrets, her vigilant presence a grounding force in a place teetering on the precipice of change, nurturing the spark of potential residing in every heart.

Header image by michaklootwijk.

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