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Writing A Great Introduction

Updated on October 10, 2013

Never Do This

In this article I will tell you……STOP RIGHT NOW AND DELETE ANY ARTICLE YOU HAVE EVER WRITTEN THAT STARTED LIKE THAT!

Now that I have calmed down, let me explain why you never want to begin an article with those infamous words……simply because the title already told the reader what the hell the article was about, and I really don’t want to treat my readers like they are idiots.

And yet so many writers do exactly that.

I don’t care if you are writing a recipe or you are writing a creative story, if the introduction is not interesting you are going to have readers leave your site in droves, and you will forever be known in writing circles as a writer who could not be bothered with going the extra mile.

Is that what you want?

Let me take this a step further: your introduction should not only be interesting but it should also be a powerful attention-grabber. It should be so interesting that the reader can’t wait to read the rest of the article or story.

There are still some who believe the sole purpose of an introduction is to tell the reader what they are about to read. To those I say “BALONEY.” The purpose of an introduction should be to grab the reader by the throat and not let go. An introduction should be a choke hold, rendering the reader helpless and gasping for breath, and anything short of that is just so much dog doo-doo on the junk pile of literature.

Now, do I have your attention?

So how does one achieve this? How do we write something so memorable as to leave our readers begging for more?

I’m glad you asked. Read on and we just might be able to help you and propel you to stardom.

Do you need help with introductions?

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Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou | Source

USE A DRAMATIC INCIDENT

Instead of me trying to explain this technique to you, let me use an example from the movies. How many of you have seen “Saving Private Ryan?” If you have you will remember the opening scene of the Invasion of Normandy with the bullets buzzing by, the destruction of bodies and the frenzied efforts to find some shelter from the rain of lead.

If you can write an introduction like that then you have a winner.

BEGIN BY TELLING A STORY

Many writers are natural story-tellers. Each of you has experiences from your lifetime that will aid you in writing an introduction. Think of one that relates to your story or article and use it for an attention-grabber.

If you cannot think of a personal experience then get creative and make up a story that applies to your article.

SETTING THE SCENE

I’m going to let Maya Angelou set the scene from her story “Hope.”

“The last inch of space was filled, yet people continue to wedge themselves along the walls of the store. Uncle Willie had turned the radio up to its last notch so that youngsters on the porch wouldn’t miss a word. Women sat on kitchen chairs, dining-room chairs, stools, and upturned wooden boxes. Small children and babies perched in every lap available and men leaned on the shelves or on each other.”

What is her story about? Even if you don’t know I’m willing to be you are intrigued, and if so then her introduction is the reason.

Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Chisholm | Source

I enjoy this lady but I wish she smiled more

USE A QUESTION, QUOTE OR POLL

I love quotes and use them often in my articles. You can go online to “Brainy Quotes” and find a quote for any topic.

Beginning with a question can also be quite effective.

Let me pick a subject….let’s say, sex trafficking. I could start the article with this question: how many of you have had your son or daughter stolen off the streets, drugged, beaten and sold into sex slavery?

If that opening question did not get your attention then you ain’t got no soul. J

DESCRIPTIONS ARE NICE

If you are writing about the homeless you could begin by describing a homeless man or woman sleeping on a park bench. If you are writing about conservation then begin by describing an incredibly beautiful scene from nature. Name a topic and think of a description….cancer? Alzheimer’s? poverty? Christmas?

In other words, rather than begin by talking about the impersonal statistics of cancer, describe the physical effects of cancer on a real life human being. I promise it will be much more effective.

UNUSUAL FACTS OR FIGURES

I am going to turn to Shirley Chisholm for this example, from her article “Unbought and Unbossed.”

“There are 435 members of the House of Representative and 417 are white males. Ten of the others are women, and nine are black. I belong to both of these minorities, which makes it add up right. That makes me a celebrity, a kind of side show attraction.”

Isn’t that better than some boring intro about making it in Congress as a black woman?

USE THE POWER OF THE SENSES

Most people reading your articles have five senses. Why not write to those senses?

How many of you remember the smell of homemade apple pies in the fall? The brilliant colors of the trees and the crispness of the air? The delight of falling into a pile of leaves and feeling them crunch underneath you?

If I’m writing an article about Fall in New England you better believe that’s how I’m starting my article, because it appeals to most readers. It is something we all have experienced to a certain degree, whether we have ever visited New England or not. It is a universal call to the senses and it is a highly effective way to get your readers invested in the rest of the story you are telling.

Join me on my blog for more writing tips
Join me on my blog for more writing tips

There Are More but That’s Enough to Get You Started

That is more than enough to get you started. Please consider it and experiment on your next article. If you are a writer then I will assume that you have a desire to be the best writer you can possibly be, and having a strong introduction is a step in the right direction. I want you to succeed, and this is definitely a step in the direction of success.

One final note. Closely related to the introduction is the conclusion, and I would be remiss if I did not mention that the conclusion should refer back to the introduction. It closes the circle if you will and brings closure to your story or novel. Never and I repeat never end a story or article by saying "in conclusion."

A man walks into a bar. He orders a beer from the bartender and then says hey, have you heard this joke?

But that’s an introduction for another day.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you HAHA

    • profile image

      HAHAHAHAH 3 years ago

      유 썩 ㅗㅗㅗㅗㅗㅗㅗㅗㅗㅗ

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, at least you are aware of it. I see so many articles that have no introduction at all and you can well imagine how long I spend with those articles. :) Thanks once again; I feel like I should give you a prize for most visits today.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Amen to your opener. Nothing turns me off of an article quicker than what you said. That and "to summarize or "in conclusion". I feel like I am reading a term paper. Now I know that everyone needs an intro and conclusion, but just don't start it with these standards (or try not to.) That being said, my intros aren't the best, but I try to jazz them up a bit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael, wishing us both many more years of friendship.

      blessings and a heartfelt thank you

      bill

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 4 years ago

      Indeed Bill, you a r e a "very happy " and we both will celebrate happy reunion laughingly ( that day ) finding out,the one you've helped was serving military when you entered first grade.

      Thank you my highly regarded friend, be blessed.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael, if I have helped you then I am very happy. Thank you my friend and blessings to you always.

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 4 years ago

      Thank you ' billybuc ' my friend this helps tremendously, you didn't make my day only , you did rest of the days... ( some extra you ' did' - are my eyes filled with tears... [now , for this is needed great amount of effort, since my tears are down deep somewhere and not easily reachable],) .

      Receive all the blessings and continue be a blessing as you are.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning Michael,

      It is always a pleasure having you stop by my friend. As for your command of the English language, you are lacking in very few things. English, to me, is one of the most difficult languages there is simply because rules change and seemingly make no sense. One word will mean one thing in one sentence, but in another sentence the word will mean something completely different. Your sentence structure is fine; it is just that occasionally the wrong word is used and that is perfectly normal for someone to whom English is not their native language.

      Have a wonderful day my friend.

      blessings always

      bill

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 4 years ago

      Good evening.

      Thank you Bill for your generous , unbelievable responds to my comments, causing me wandering , Michael who? There is another Michael and every time but this time I thought its him, definitely . Once already I've sign " MichaEL" just to be certain it's meant to be me, the one who is talking to you at this moment. Without doubt, your super beautiful wordings "what you lack in command of the..." is specifically telling me , " what " ? See, idioms as this one I've seen first time and thank God for dictionaries , I'm using them frequently, perhaps more then all the rest of the writers together. And still I'm left wandering where he most improvement I have to pursue before exposing myself to unpredictability of " publishing " .

      Your patience with me and your voluble time is highly appreciated.

      Bidding you good night .

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael, I love your comments. What you lack in command of the English language you more than make up for with your passion and good spirit. Thank you so much for your generosity.

      blessings always

      bill

    • Michael-Milec profile image

      Michael-Milec 4 years ago

      hello billybuc.

      Stunning! Even if you refuse to read, it will be a success in my mind, just to be able reading and ' commenting '. ( not knowing what has happened to my previous comment to this great hub-article ... )

      " A dream unfulfilled to realize requires one to stay awake and do adjusting according to the "gospel " of 'How To Write A great Intro..."

      Thank you for doing so much, so "all " to meet my needs.

      Voting awesome and definitely useful.

      Stay blessed.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mommy, it's always nice to see you here. Thanks and I'm glad it helped.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Bill, this was such a helpful article. I try to start with a good opening and closing. These suggestions were excellent. I love the examples you used from some of our noteworthy authors. It did the trick. As usual, you're the best!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Gypsy, it is obvious but so many people skip over it....I'm glad you found this helpful and thank you!

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 4 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Thanks for this great tip. So obvious when you point it out, you got me!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MDavis, it is a pleasure. It is the teacher in me; I can't shut it off. LOL

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 4 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you very much for this article, Bill.

      I said in one of my hubs, "You may have a killer ending sentence, but if no one reads it, what does it matter?" After reading your article, I should have used it as the summary, not in the middle!

      Back to the edit button to check for your pointers and examples. I'm following and look forward to more of your wisdom. Again, thank you for so freely sharing with us.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sorry vkwok. Had I know I would have written it sooner. LOL Thank you!

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      I could've used this article for my college essays! Thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzie, I'm honored if you took my suggestion. Well done my friend. Keep doing what you are doing and good things will follow.

      Have a great weekend with the Mickster!

      bill

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Another useful subject with excellent examples and pointers all writers can benefit from. Intro's and Conclusions since you mentioned the importance, are two areas I have been working on so thank you!

      Votes and shared my friend, hope you have a relaxing weekend with the lovely Bev!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      infernal, I'm glad you like it. Thank you!

    • infernal199 profile image

      Arif 4 years ago from Bangladesh

      nice & informative detailed hub.... i like it

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you DDE....you are so loyal and I appreciate it greatly. Have a great weekend.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Awesome work from you. An informative, and well approached hub on this title. You said it all here and as always you just know how to say it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Deb. Enough said indeed my friend.

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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks again, Billy. It is short, sweet, and definitely to the point. Enough said.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, what would I do without you? You have a choke hold on the billybuc fan club. LOL Thank you!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      You nailed your topic again, Bill, with this one. I could not agree with you more. The best introduction is one where the reader or listener cannot wait to learn or hear the rest. A choke hold is the perfect description!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, it was like pulling teeth when I was teaching this in school....it was as though the students thought there was pain involved.LOL

      Blessings, hugs and a big thank you heading your way

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Just doing my thing, Alicia; thank you so much for always being here.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vinaya, it is indeed; isn't it amazing how many writers ignore this fact?

      Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome, Vivian...thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Exactly, Rebecca...thanks for mentioning that and for the visit.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Such great information, Bill.

      If you can hook your reader at the beginning you may, but not always, have them for the duration of your writings. Teaching this skill to students was so important to their writing as they wanted to begin just as you said not to ...at the beginning of the year, this was one of our first hurdles.

      Thank you for sharing, Bill.

      Shared and pinned...Angels are winging their way to you this morning. ps

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you once again for your generosity in helping writers, Bill. Your suggestions are very useful, as they always are!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      It is true that if we fail to get hold of readers attention in the first few paragraphs, our works will never read in its entirety. Introduction is something like a head-shot.

      Thanks for sharing your tips and advice.

    • Vivian-tmt-hnp profile image

      Vivian-tmt-hnp 4 years ago from USA.

      9:38pm Wednesday 31 July 2013

      Thank you for your useful essay.

      Vivian

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very good advice. It reminds me of sticking to active voice and avoiding passive as well as reaching out and grabbing attention right from the first sentence. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Stan, I'm glad you found this useful and helpful. I have taught this for a long time and have found introductions to be very hard for many writers, so you aren't alone. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      dreamseeker, my pleasure. Thanks for the visit.

    • stanmurphy profile image

      Stan Murphy 4 years ago from Kansas

      I am so thankful you wrote this. Introductions can be very hard to write for many of us, but crucial to getting your point or passion across. I will use the advice you have shared going forward. Thank you!

    • profile image

      dreamseeker2 4 years ago

      Great advice! Found it useful and interesting! Thanks for sharing the secret to great writing tactics...: )

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, if you like Maya then you have good taste my friend. Thank you for the "master" reference....I'm just a student like all of you.

      blessings today and always

      bill

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      I saw the picture of Maya and I knew I had to read the article, then I realized it was by my favourite teach and yet another master class. thank you Bill for driving the message home. Wonderful example, very useful very relevant information.

      Take care and my best to you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heck Mary, one day I might make a writer out of me. LOL It's worth dreaming about, right?

      Thank you kind lady and have a great Wednesday!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      You know the best part about reading this? Everything!

      Not only is your introduction great, but the entire piece contains so much interesting information....descriptions are nice, write to the five senses....your tutorials are invaluable! Thank you Bill and never stop. You're going to make writers out of all of us yet.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting, shared and pinned.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree, Michelle, quotes are an effective tool.

      Thank you for the visit.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I am a quote person! I like to begin with a good quote that sums up the article I'm writing. It helps to guide readers too!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, I will do my best to keep them coming. As long as there are people like you who appreciate them, I'll keep writing.

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, it is always my pleasure. Thank you so much for always being here.

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      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Dear Bill, yes, that attention grabbing introduction is a great reminder to help keep the readers reading!!!

      I love to use quotes too, as you know, from reading. They just add that little special something. Plus I do try to, when appropriate, add little interesting facts, polls and an occasional quiz.

      Keep these gems coming dearest Bill!

      Hugs and love from southern USA,

      Faith Reaper

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      That is what i have more trouble with, the introduction. Thank you again. You are so helpful and giving....Cheers.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vellur, that's been my experience and I sure don't like it when it happens. :) Thank you for the visit my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ken, thank you! I'm glad you find it helpful.

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      KenWu 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Great advices, love them. Just bookmarked this on my firefox!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Great tips on writing a great introduction. Thank you for sharing. If the reader is bored with the first few lines then he/she will most likely skip the whole article.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LK, I keep that thought in mind for every article I write. If I don't interest them in ten seconds then it makes no difference what I have written later. :) Thanks for the kind words.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Barbara, and thank you for the visit and comment.

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      Barbara Badder 4 years ago from USA

      I need to work on some of my old articles. Thanks for some more good advice.

    • LKMore01 profile image

      LKMore01 4 years ago

      Bill,

      "Made" started her review comments with the same joke I was going to use. Thank you once again for reminding us that we have an audience. If we read our OWN material and start yawning, imagine how a reader must feel on that journey...which will be short because they have already moved on .. Voted up and awesome as always!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Skye, I don't know what happened on your end, but I received the first comment and just replied. Thank you again my dear friend.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Skye, I am feeling the love in Olympia, Washington, and I'll take all of it you can send. I spent far too many years pushing love away; that won't happen again my friend.

      Thank you very much, and I'm sending blessings and a hug your way.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Cris, tomorrow you will have your joke because that is the intro for tomorrow's hub. :) I don't like to leave my audience waiting too long.

      And writing with feelings is the only way I know to write. I'd be a mess trying to write for a newspaper...just the facts....no way this boy can just do the facts. :)

      Sending love your way from Oly, and a whole bunch of thanks.

      bill

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      skye2day 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      billy buck Dear bro I lost my first comment. Oh I do not like it when that comes about. Well here goes again.

      We are so very blessed that you share your knowledge and wisdom with us so freely on these here hub pages. You know I did think ( old school lesson I picked up on some where) that the title should give info about the article. I so can see where you come from. Basic common sense and brilliant. I always pick up so many tips and pointers from your works precious brother. I am very grateful to learn from such a sweet heart. May God bless you 100 fold! You really are a 5 star gem in Gods chest of treasures. I have paid it forward and shared and voted. Sending a big hug your way bill. I do pray that all is well with you and yours. Keep em coming dear bro. I know you have many endeavors that you work on besides the hubs. You are a blessing indeed bill.

      My Love in Christ Jesus. Your sista and friend, Skye

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes she is, Victoria. :) Thank you!

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      Author Victoria Sheffield 4 years ago from Georgia

      She is great!

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      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Smiling in front of my computer on your last line: "A man walks into a bar. He orders a beer from the bartender and then says hey, have you heard this joke?" Oh, sorry Bill. This is an introduction for your next hub. :) It's attention grabber alright even though it's at the end of your hub, which makes me ask for more. More from you Bill of this free writing tips and lessons.

      I always try to use my senses in my writing. More often, it just flows (depending on the mood). I believe it is a gift to write with feelings (not forced) and let our readers feel us too.

      Very important lesson in writing Bill. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy surfaces!!!!! New at Eleven. :)

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      skye2day 4 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      billy Buck, Dear bro thank you so much for the writing lesson. You are truly a gem in the chest of treasures. I really appreciate you taking time to forward you knowledge and wisdom. Your fan club is very blessed to have you on these here pages. I have bookmarked paid it forward and voted brother. I have learned a great deal from your lesson hubs. God Bless. Keep em coming bill. U will I know it. I know you have other endeavors your have taken on. We are a such blessed lot to have you. I thank God for your writings. I am sending hugs galore your way. I do pray you and yours are doing well. My Love in Christ Jesus from your sista, Skye.

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      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      The "In this article" thing drives me crazy. I never read far enough to find out what it's about! Great tips, Billy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Always a pleasure, Nell. Thanks for stopping by my friend. Some of the oldest lessons are the ones we tend to forget; I know I do.

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      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      That's great advice billy, and something I tend to forget about, especially the senses, it was drummed into me too! talk about a bad memory! lol! I used to go to creative writing classes back in the 90s and she was always saying, smell, touch hearing etc, thanks for the reminder, nell

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lisa, thank you very much. I'll take that kind of praise any old day. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Gail, thank you, and I agree with you that for whatever reason, online writing almost demands a great introduction.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kaz, I'm willing to be quite a few people started checking back on their old hubs. LOL That wasn't my intention but I guess it's all good, buddy.

      Thank you. I hope you and your bride are well and happy.

      blessings

      bil

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joe, I'm laughing. When I didn't pitch I played center field, and I hated backing up throws to second. I don't know why that used to bother me so much. LOL

      Anyway, I used to like Taylor Swift before she turned "Hollywood" on us....something about attitude that will sour me in a heartbeat.

      Yes indeed, my friend, it's intro or bust for a writer. Make it good or go home. :)

      Thanks buddy and you can back me up any old day.

      Aloha,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Abby, questions are a great way to introduce an article....try a poll at the beginning with a real catchy question....people like to get involved early on when they are reading.

      Thanks my friend and I hope you are having a great day.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathryn, it may well be the most important part of an article or essay, and yet so many people skim over it in a hurry. Just something to think about. :) Thank you as always, Kathryn, and have a great day.

    • lisasuniquevoice profile image

      Lisa Brown 4 years ago from Michigan

      billybuc,

      This hub is great. It's enthusiastic, inspirational, and motivational. Your examples were perfect. You got your point across, and you did it well.

      Lisa

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      Gail Meyers 4 years ago from United States

      This is excellent advice, Bill. I love the way you focus it down to a single issue, then give useful and constructive examples to clarify and correct issues. It makes you hubs so helpful. The opening paragraph is important in any writing, but it seem even more so when writing online.

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      Kas 4 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Wow Bill, I was grabbed by the throat right at your first sentence. I laughed out loud as I was trying to figure out at the same time whether or not I've done that in any of my articles. I'm thinking, "Oh crap, I'm probably guilty as charged!" I'm now going to be checking back over previous ones just to see if I'm an offender! Great advice my friend and I love how you told a story to tell a story! Have a great one!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Hi, Bill!

      I liked Taylor Swift's early songs. One thing she consistently did was to use the same line she opened with as a conclusion to her song. It brought things full circle and added to the innocent (at the time) yet powerful presentation of an adolescent girl's heartfelt love notes.

      Similarly, one of the things I learned in my grade school years and most recently was effectively reminded to be mindful of by you, Bill, was to capture the reader's attention with a gripping beginning, weave the tale, and then sew things all up with a reprise of that beginning...or at least a clever reference to it.

      Thank you again for your graduate level writing classes here on HP, Bill! You da man, my friend, and I'll support you 100+% in rightfield (where they place the old, slow guys LOL!) as you pitch (just watch me waddle, uh, hustle as I back up the infield throws to first).

      With the greatest respect and aloha,

      Joe

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      Abby Campbell 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Great tips for the writer, Bill. If a story doesn't draw me in quickly, I get bored and will probably never finish reading the article or book. Though I write mostly non-fiction, I still try to make my introduction interesting by asking questions (my usual technique) or using quotes. Thank you so much for some other ideas!

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      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      This is a great subject for writers everywhere. The intro is what draws people in, or turns them away. I will have to examine my introductions sometime, and see how I can spruce them up. Thanks for sharing this with us, and have a fantastic day.

      ~ Kathryn

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vicki, I used to hand the papers right back to them and tell them to make me a believer. LOL Oh, if looks could kill when I did that. :) I know you know this...what teacher doesn't, right?

      Thanks for dropping by my busy friend.

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      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      This is great advice, Bill. I do need to improve some of my hubs with better intros.

      I'm always preaching to my students about attention-getting introductions. Many of them do start with "In this essay, I'm going to . . .. "

      Great job!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      toknowinfo, I don't believe I have ever been called magical. Thank you for that; you made my day.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey, you are always so sweet. I love giving back to this community of great friends. It brings a smile to my face knowing that some of these ideas help other writers.

      Bottle me up but keep the plug in; I can get quite ripe from time to time. LOL

      love,

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, it is always my pleasure my dear. Glad to be of help, and use "baloney" any time you want...it's a great word for nonsense. :)

      blessings always

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, a lot of writers slip into that phrase from time to time....none of this stuff I write about is new; it's just a reminder of things we forget now and again. :) Thank you for stopping by.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dahlia, I wrote it just for you. :) Glad if it is helpful to you my dear.

      blessings and a hug coming your way

      bill

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      toknowinfo 4 years ago

      Great and inspiring tips, Bill. Again, much gratitude for sharing so much of your wisdom. Whether the info is brand new or obvious, it is always helpful to be reminded of the ways to capture an audience. You are magical!

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      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Bill, my dear friend - You're bound and determined to make better writers of us all :) And how fortunate we all are! I like Lisa's ( my daughter ) idea of bottling you up.

      Loved this lesson from you on the introduction. I'm proud to say that with most of my hubs I've followed your rules. Now I will begin going through all 150 hubs and make sure I've followed your advice.

      Thanks, teacher, for your great capacity for wanting to help others. We're the luckiest hubbers on earth.

      Much love ~ Audrey

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      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 4 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Ohh you made me fight with myself at the beginning...I just wanted to go through what I have written and read my introductions, but I also wanted to keep writing. I think I like that word "balony". Thanks again for your unconditional help.

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      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I love the power of the senses section. So very true. Another issue I have to slap myself for when I do it is "I think, or I believe..." Of course I think it- I'm writing it! I catch myself every now and again starting with that but it is slowly wearing away. Thanks for another educational hub Bill. I look forward to them!

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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is for me Bill. A very useful lesson for me today. Thank you for sharing this with us. Hope you are having a good day! :-)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally, baby steps are great steps to take...I imagine Maya took the same baby steps when she began. :) As far as keeping up with me, I'll be slowing down the pace in August so you can catch up. :) Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, exactly....angry or not angry, the pit bull is a great analogy.

      Thank you my friend.