Student Writing Tip: First Paragraphs

fishing

(This piece is excerpted from Rhythm Prism‘s language arts book:  The Artist Inside)

When writing nonfiction, start with a first paragraph that lets readers know what the piece is about. Not only should the first paragraph state your purpose, but the very first sentence should be dynamite. Get your readers’ attention right away so they want to stay with you.

Whether writing fiction or nonfiction, keep in mind that you are communicating. At every point in your piece readers must be persuaded to listen. Address readers in a way that makes them want to continue reading.

When writing fiction, you have more flexibility with your first paragraph than you do with nonfiction. In fiction, you are allowed to mystify the readers. However, you are never allowed to bore them. Mystify them if you will, but make them want to find out more about the mystery.

Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, your first paragraph is the bait with which you hook readers. Among writers, the first sentence is often referred to as ‘the hook’. Writing a powerful ‘hook’ is the best way to launch a great piece.

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