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Beef up your first para

Updated on July 3, 2013

The first paragraph in journalistic stories and articles is the most important. The first paragraph, also can be called intro, has to be written with a sense of flare and flamboyance. It has to be a like a "torch-light procession" as once one said in a now dated text-book on journalism.

First paras have to be not only interesting but must be written to grab the reader's attention and make them read. Writers and this includes me, are well advised to spend extra time to come up with an introductory paragraph that is "hot" in language and style, cogent, coherent, lucid and catching. Dare I say it needs to have pazzaz.

It is not only important but vital because many of those working in the trade as reporters and editors, these are what can be called the purists, strongly argue you have to catch the attention and interests of readers right from the very first sentence or two.

The journalistic wisdom is if you haven't grabbed in the initial sentences, you have a cat-in-hell's chance of making the reader go on and read the rest of the story, article, report, feature, opinion piece and/or analysis.

Readers have a very short time span. If you don't get them hooked immediately and even 'spontaneously' then they will just skip over and move ahead to another story, or another piece, leaving your story and byline in the lurch. They may be missing on a very good story because it is seen as a wasted effort on your part.

It becomes a great pity, not only for the readers, but for the journalists and writers who may have spent hours and even days laboring over an important piece in collecting the information, talking to people and getting the right quotes.

And then writing up of what can be considered as a valuable piece to make people aware of particular issues and subjects.

The advice is simple, and one needs to be remembered over and over again because we are mere mortals that forget there are writing tools: Get the first paragraph of your story up-to-scratch. Make it interesting and punchy for the readers to go on and read!


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    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      I agree. As a reader, if the opening paragraph doesn't interest me, I'll figure the entire article won't hold my attention. I voted this UP, etc.

    • icciev profile image

      icciev 6 years ago from Kuwait

      thanks for sharing this informative hub and for the tip, every one should learn how to attract readers to read the full article from the first to the end, and as you said the first para plays a major part, thanks again and voted up.