For the month of March, I am participating in the Eleventh Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge. That means that I am writing every day for the month of March in the good company of the Two Writing Teachers community.
For almost a year, I have run a student writing group on the last Monday of the month. We met at the library tonight, and split into our pre-assigned groups. Because everyone had went their writing in ahead of time and read each other's work before coming to the meeting, we had an extra ten to fifteen minutes before we were scheduled to end. These students are writers, through and through, so I do things with them I would not ordinarily do in classroom.
One of the girls had started a new story. Her group agreed that the premise of the story is strong, and when she shared to outline of chapters she's already created (she's a sixth grader, and she has an outline of chapters--mic drop, there), we all agreed that the story needs to be written.
The feedback she received was about holding off on some of the information in the opening scene. What is that the reader has to know right away, and what can we wait to find out?
"How about if we all write a beginning for her?" one student asked.
We asked A. how she felt about that, and she was all for it. We'd done this once before for another group member, and everyone loved hearing what the others created.
Maybe someday I'll write a book about this group and what they accomplish as writers. Tonight, their beginnings blew me away. If you're ever stuck with how to begin a story, tell a group of young writers what the reader needs to know in the beginning of the story, and then stand back.