I’m just starting to blog and I’m finding I have a problem with introductory paragraphs. Do you have any advice about writing those important first paragraphs?
~Jarod Billingslea – a web designer:Twitter @JarodBillingsle
You’re right, the first paragraph of an article or blog post is critical. It’s what ‘hooks’ the reader to reading the rest of the post, and if you don’t get it well written you lose your audience.
When I first started writing someone suggested that often the first paragraph or so could be cut from a draft because the second or third ‘graph was likely to be the real beginning of the article. I found it worked for me.
Later, when I became an editor of both magazines and newspapers I found I could often eliminate those first paragraphs in the articles that were submitted to me. Perhaps not surprisingly I have found that the first chapter in book-length manuscripts can often be deleted and make the work stronger.
So draft away, then look and see if you haven’t got a solid or almost solid intro already written, just not quite at the start.
In my mind I always picture a bull getting ready to charge, but first he paws the dirt. I think that’s what we writers often do. We write our way into a piece and it’s not until we get really well started that the writing gets good.
Do you have a question you’d like me to answer. Just contact me, put Q&A in the subject line and I’ll do my best.