Learn how to write by writing: this is the key to effective writing. Practice makes perfect. The more you write, the more you know how to begin your writing. That said, when you begin to write, beware of two extremes: doing too little, or doing too much.
On the one hand, if you write too little in the beginning paragraphs, you may give the impression that you are too eager to jump into the subject without giving your readers time to reflect on what you have prepared for them.
On the other hand, if you write too much in the beginning paragraphs, you may give the impression that you are summarizing the subject. Your readers may think that they already know what you are going to say to them, and hence they may not wish to go on reading.
An effective beginning needs to accomplish the following:
- Capture the readers’ attention by stressing the importance of the subject, arousing the readers’ curiosity, or entertaining the readers.
- Introduce the subject appropriately to the readers through the use of relevant lead-ins:
o A famous quotation alluding to your topic
o A factual statement with statistics and examples supporting your topic
o A short description or story with emotional appeal
o A personal experience related to your topic
o A controversial question or a paradoxical statement about your topic
o An analogy or comparison relevant to your topic
o A statement of problems leading to your topic
· Provide adequate details to create anticipation in the readers’ minds.
To begin writing, initiate the writing process in three basic steps:
- Think about the topic, or what you are going to write about.
- Write it. Put down any idea that comes to your mind.
- Write it again, revise, and re-write it.
Both drafting and revising are creative processes in writing. Drafting is more spontaneous, while revising is more thoughtful and critical. When you write, you see words from your point of view; when you revise, you see words from the readers’ point of view.
Points to remember during revision:
- Read slowly: this forces you to focus your attention on each word.
- Read aloud: this not only slows down your reading but also contributes to objectivity to your writing.
- Look for choice of words, sentence construction, and paragraph structure.
- Be alert for errors in grammar and usage, as well as in spelling and typing.
Stephen LauCopyright© by Stephen Lau