The 3 Most Disastrous Approaches to Begin a Story – Tips from Steve Douglas-Craig

Are you a writer struggling to captivate your readers right from the beginning of your story? Look no further! In this blog post, we’ll delve into the three most disastrous approaches that can instantly turn off your audience. Join me as we uncover these common pitfalls, and learn invaluable tips from renowned writer, Steve Douglas-Craig, on how to avoid them. With Steve’s expert advice, you’ll be well-equipped to hook your readers from the very first sentence and keep them engaged till the very end. So, let’s dive in and discover the key to crafting a captivating story that leaves your audience craving for more.

The 3 Most Disastrous Approaches to Begin a Story – Tips from Steve Douglas-Craig


Starting a story is like laying the foundation of a building. If the foundation is weak, the entire structure crumbles. The same principle applies to storytelling. The beginning of a story sets the tone, captures the reader’s attention, and establishes the foundation for the narrative. However, there are three disastrous approaches to beginning a story that every aspiring writer should avoid. In this article, we’ll delve into these approaches and explore tips from renowned screenwriter Steve Douglas-Craig on how to avoid them. You’ll find invaluable insights to help you enhance your storytelling skills and captivate your readers.

Identifying the Main Character

One of the most crucial aspects of storytelling is identifying the main character early on, as it allows readers to establish an emotional connection. Failing to do so can leave readers bewildered and detached from the narrative, making it difficult to fully embrace the story. According to Steve Douglas-Craig, a professional screenwriter who has worked on notable films like “Terminator: Salvation” and “Django Unchained,” not properly identifying the main character can be disastrous.

To avoid this pitfall, ensure that your protagonist is introduced in a compelling manner. Give them depth, motivations, and a clear role within the story. Engage your readers by providing glimpses into the character’s thoughts and emotions, making them relatable and intriguing. Remember, the main character is the anchor that holds the story together, so make them memorable.

Starting with Too Many Characters

Introducing numerous characters right from the beginning can overwhelm readers and dilute the impact of your story. It’s essential to strike a balance between introducing enough characters to add depth and intrigue while not overwhelming your audience. According to Steve Douglas-Craig, starting with too many characters can be disastrous for a story.

To ensure a smooth introduction of characters, consider gradually introducing them as the story progresses. Start with the main character and then add supporting characters as the story unfolds. This allows readers to connect with each character on a more personal level and fully appreciate their significance. Remember, it’s quality over quantity when it comes to characters in your story.

Setting the Wrong Tone

The tone of a story sets the mood and atmosphere, drawing readers into the narrative. Setting the wrong tone can lead to confusion, disinterest, and ultimately, the loss of readers. Steve Douglas-Craig highlights the importance of establishing the correct tone from the beginning.

To avoid this catastrophic mistake, dedicate time to carefully crafting the opening lines of your story. Consider the genre, themes, and overall mood you want to convey. Whether it’s a suspenseful thriller, a lighthearted romance, or a thought-provoking drama, make sure the tone aligns with your story’s intention. Engage your readers from the first sentence by immersing them in the world you’ve created.


Developing a captivating beginning for your story is paramount to its success. By avoiding the three disastrous approaches discussed above, you can ensure that your readers are hooked from the very first page. Remember to clearly identify the main character, introduce characters gradually, and set the appropriate tone to captivate your audience. Take inspiration from screenwriting expert Steve Douglas-Craig and unleash your storytelling potential.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. What is Steve Douglas-Craig’s background in the film industry?
    Steve Douglas-Craig worked for Sony Pictures Entertainment and Screen Gems in Los Angeles. He played a crucial role in developing and shepherding various film titles, including “Terminator: Salvation,” “Django Unchained,” and “Manchester By The Sea.”

  2. Is Steve Douglas-Craig solely a screenwriter?
    While Steve is indeed a professional screenwriter, he has also worked on the TV series “Hawaii Five-O.” He is a versatile storyteller with a vast range of experience in the industry.

  3. Does Steve Douglas-Craig offer any resources for aspiring screenwriters?
    Yes, Steve offers screenwriting courses and has a YouTube channel called “The New Screenwriter,” where he shares valuable insights and tips for aspiring screenwriters.

  4. How can I connect with Steve Douglas-Craig?
    You can connect with Steve Douglas-Craig on his website, IMDb page, and YouTube channel. Be sure to check out his content and reach out to him for any inquiries or collaborations.

  5. How can I support Film Courage?
    Film Courage is a platform that supports filmmakers. You can show your support by becoming a member or a patron. Additionally, subscribing to the Film Courage YouTube channel and listening to the Film Courage podcast on SoundCloud helps contribute to their mission of empowering filmmakers worldwide.

Note: The information in this article is based on the given topics and instructions. It is critical to validate the information independently.

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