You are walking along the beach and discover a mermaid. Describe

You are walking along the beach and discover a mermaid.
Describe the mermaid and write a story about your
1. The Non-Starting Introduction
The reader cannot get a feel for what the story will be
about. The beginning does not hold the reader's
It was a nice day to do something outside. I wondered what I 'could
do, but couldn't think of anything around the house that seemed
fun. I was feeling bored and asked my mother what I should do.
She didn't have any ideas either.
Is there any clue that this story will be about meeting a
mermaid? The boredom that the writer feels is passed
on to the reader!
2. Too Many Small Details
Most students get stuck in this style of beginning. The
writer takes far too long to get to the actual main
event because he spends too much time on needless
details at the beginning.
One bright sunny July day I woke up. I got dressed and went down
for breakfast. Dad had made me waffles with syrup and bacon on
the side. It was delicious. I thought it would be a fun day to go to
the beach, so I asked Mom. She said fine, so I called Susan, but
Susan had to go to the dentist. So I called Kate, and she couldn't go
either. Mom said why don't I call Maggie, so I did. She said yes, so
I got my towel and bucket and put them in the car. Mom made
lunch and....
None of these details is entertaining or important to
the mermaid story.
3. The Reporter
This approach is more suited to a newspaper or report
writing. The reader is expecting to be entertained and
will be confused by the informational tone of the
This story is about the day that I went to the beach and met a mermaid. I saw the mermaid and went up to her. We talked, etc., etc.
Don't tell the reader what the story will be about! Just
tell the story!
4. The Over-Used Introduction
In the right circumstances, a cliche will work. If a writer
begins with "Once upon a time...", the reader expects a
fairytale or folktale. What's wrong with using this
beginning in the following example?
Once upon a time my mother brought me to the beach. We parked
over near the hot dog stand and got out. I walked along until I saw
something weird by the rocks. It was a mermaid!
The problem is that "Once upon a time" doesn't fit in
with the modern day setting of the story. Driving to the
beach and parking near the hot dog stand doesn't fit
the expectation of a story taking place long ago and far
5. The Tell-All-About-Me Introduction
The problem that the story beginning below is that the
focus is off. The emphasis on Tiffany is misleading
because the story focus is on meeting a mermaid.
Hi, my name is Tiffany. I am eight years old and I live in Stratford,
Connecticut. I have brown hair and green eyes. I have a dog and two
cats who I love a lot. I am in third grade. I love the beach, which is
why I am going to tell you about my adventure there last summer.
The child sees her personal history as important to the
story. This kind of beginning does not flow smoothly
into the action.