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The Ten Second Rule of Writing

Updated on April 23, 2013

BANG, POW, BAM!

How many of you remember the 3 Second Rule regarding food you dropped on the floor. I recall practicing it religiously when I was a kid. From the moment I dropped food to the floor, I had three seconds to pick it up and eat it. Otherwise, germs would get on it and it was no longer edible. J

I know, it was gross and looking back I can’t believe I thought that it made sense, but remember we are talking about a little kid.

Now I’m going to introduce you to the 10 Second Rule of Writing. In fact, you were just introduced to it. It goes something like this: If you do not interest your readers in the first ten seconds you will lose them forever. It makes no difference if you have just written the reincarnation of the Gettysburg Address. The average reader is much too busy to waste their time on drivel. You have exactly ten seconds to hook them and make them want to read the rest of your article.

Think about it! On any given day we are inundated with things to read. From the newspaper to online articles, it is a seemingly never-ending onslaught of readable material, and we only have so much time in a day. I know this to be true on HubPages, the writer’s site I belong to. I must see over 100 articles per day on that site, and you better believe I do not have the time to read that many each day. What I do, and I’m willing to bet many others do, is take a look at the title and if that interests me I take a look at the opening paragraph. If the writer has not hooked me by then well, sayonara!

Obviously, then, that first paragraph better be a doozy.

Alrighty then! Now you know what the 10 Second Rule is; how do you go about instigating that rule? Well, I have some suggestions listed below with an example and explanation of each. I think you’ll have a better understanding if you see this rule in action.

Even writers need to go to a ballgame
Even writers need to go to a ballgame | Source

OUTRAGE

“President Bush is reportedly annoyed that the Chinese are using so much petroleum. With the world’s fastest-growing economy, China’s oil consumption has soared to at least 6.5 million barrels a day, and its market for automobiles is growing. If the boom continues, the Chinese may eventually be somewhere in the neighborhood of the United States, which burns up about 20 million barrels a day. Who do those Chinese think they are….Americans? (Cynthia Tucker, The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Not only does that introduction express outrage but it also manages to be snide and funny at the same time. In one word, that intro is GREAT! Notice that the outrage is not blatant. There is no name-calling and there are no personal attacks. Still, Cynthia wielded her “pen” like a rapier and the cut was very real.

CURIOUSITY

“I don’t mean to be an alarmist, but the signs are impossible to ignore. We’re dealing with an epidemic today that is more virulent than any strain of bird flu. I’m talking about the death of common sense and humility. You may think I’m talking about Tom Cruise’s claim that he was going to eat his wife’s placenta, but that’s small potatoes compared to what came out of Inglewood recently.”….(Steven Lopez, Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2005).

The first sentence of this brilliant introduction hooks the reader immediately. Alarmist? Impossible signs? What is this guy talking about? Should I be reading the rest of the article? You bet your bippy I should, and I do, and when I do his article is a success, all because of that first sentence.

BELONGING

“Toby Keith and I are roughly the same age and both feeling the effects of our lost youth. I am overweight and have the knees of an 80-year old, but in the back of my mind, I think I can dunk a basketball or run a 5-minute mile.”….(Don McNay, CHNI News Service, July 6, 2006).

Not only does that introduction give the reader a sense of association with the writer, but it also dredges up feelings of longing back to earlier days when we were young, wild and free. The reader instantly realizes that they have something in common with a rich country singer, and with that bond established, chances are the rest of the article will be read.

As the Baby Boomer generation gets older and older, writing that relates to belonging and longing will have a larger and larger audience. “Remember when” are two powerful words in today’s literary world.

PROVOCATION

“Doing his stations of the Katrina cross, President Bush went for breakfast with Mayor Ray Nagin at Betsy’s Pancake House. As Mr. Bush tried to squeeze past some tightly placed tables, a waitress, Joyce Labruzzo, teased him, saying, “Mr. President, are you going to turn your back on me?”….(Maureen Dowd, New York Times News Service, August 30, 2006).

Provocation….to provoke….there is no doubt that Ms. Dowd is provoking with that introduction, and it is a provocation we all understand. Most Americans still have a sick feeling in the pit of their stomach when the word “Katrina” is mentioned, and the clever turn of phrase, “stations of the Katrina cross” are enough to encourage most readers that this is an article worth reading.

HUMOR

“First black and gold, now red and pink. My eyes are so starved for a variety of color that if I saw a rainbow, the shock might detach my retinas. Every year at this time, I am called upon to help some bewildered guy or guys figure out what to get those special women in their lives. I usually suggest real estate, but how romantic is a housing bubble?”....(Samantha Bennett, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

We all love to laugh, and one of the quickest ways to hook a reader….any reader….is to play to their funny bone. The first sentence of this introduction may not be funny, but it does play to my curiosity, enough so that I am willing to read the next sentence, which is funny enough so that I am willing to read the rest of the article.

All readers want to laugh. Use that fact to sell your article. A word of warning: just make sure you are funny. J

DISCOMFORT

“I was browsing at the newsstand in Manhattan recently when I came across a magazine called Felon. It was the “Stop Snitchin” issue, and the first letter to the editor began, “Yo, wassup Felon.” Another letter was from “your nigga John Jay,” who was kind enough to write: “To my bitches, I love ya’ll.”….(Bob Herbert, New York Times News Service).

The discomfort introduction is like a train wreck. You know you are going to cringe when you read it, but you can’t help yourself. You just have to carry on and find out how badly things are going to turn out in the article.

I was just recently scrolling through Craigslist online and I found an ad by some poor guy who had no grasp of the English language at all. He was advertising his new business, that of an illegal drug carrier. I kid you not! It was so ridiculous and so poorly written that I read the entire paragraph. I was spellbound by the poor grammar and the fact that he was advertising, for the whole world to see, the fact that he was doing illegal activities.

Keep that in mind the next time you start a new article.

SHOCK

“What Lydia Cala Loggins suffered through in 2001 was horrific. Police barged through the front door of the Hurst house she grew up in and found her brother, Joseph F. Cala II, standing naked over the corpse of their mother, Lydia Cala. He was eating her heart, police said.” …(Dave Lieber, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 11, 2006).

Though stomach-turning, there is an introduction that hooks the reader immediately. It is like a magnet pulling you in, and although you know you are going to feel great discomfort in reading it, you still read it. Isn’t that the point of all writing? Writing plays to the senses and after reading the above introduction, all of my senses were on high alert.

Some thoughts on the writing process

THINKING BACK TO MY TEACHING DAYS

When I was teaching creative writing to middle school students, I told them that the most important section of anything that they write is the introduction. Yes, I told them about the 10 Second Rule, and I beat that rule into their impressionable brains until they followed it for every piece of writing that they did for me.

I can’t tell you the number of articles I see that start out like this: “In this article I am going to tell you about such and such.” Well duh! The title of the article pretty much tells me what the author is writing about. Why do they feel compelled to tell me again in the first few sentences? I guarantee you that I do not read those articles unless I have a vested interest in the subject that they are writing about.

One final note that I feel is important in writing, and that is that the conclusion should always return to the introduction. Call it tying a bow on the whole package if you will, but I think it is important to go full circle in an article and return to your starting place.

I no longer follow the 3 Second Rule regarding dropped food. It turns out that rule is a bit gross and could lead to some serious stomach disorders. I do, however, follow the 10 Second Rule of Writing religiously, and you should too.

Ten Seconds….how are you going to hook your readers in such a short time span?

Bang….Pow….Bam!

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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

      It is my pleasure, William; thank you.

    • William15 profile image

      William 3 years ago from America

      Excellent hub. Thank you for the useful information and the helpful presentation.

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

      Russ, that is definitely a grabber of an intro....and you keep the tension going the entire book. Thanks my friend and I hope you have a great weekend.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Pow! I don't know how I missed this Hub before. I came to it from you Artistry blog. Great hub Bill. A reminder that we serve the reader, and if not, we shall have no readers. Gotta grab 'em. How about, "Captain, we have a problem."

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

      Thank you cygnetbrown....it is so basic and yet many writers ignore it.

    • cygnetbrown profile image

      Cygnet Brown 4 years ago from Springfield, Missouri

      This is so basic, but so true. If you don't hook the reader in the first ten seconds, you'll lose that reader!

      I loved your interview on utube as well!

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

      Thank you Lady_E for stopping by.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 4 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks Bill. It's useful and interesting to read.

      Bang, Pow, Pam. :-)

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

      benisan....LOL...maybe it was five seconds. Whatever it was we followed it religiously. LOL Thanks for stopping by my friend.

    • benisan85745 profile image

      Ka'imi'loa 4 years ago from Tucson, AZ.

      Not bad info bruddah Billy, I'm goio vhave to learn how to grab the attention of those...and as for the 3 second rule, I could have sworn it was 5 seconds, but anyways growing up in Kihei it was so hot that it probably warmed up what we were eating...so no worries!

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

      Thanks , Dianna, and good luck with that comp course.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Glad I popped in on this topic as I am getting ready to teach English comp this module. Great reminder of how to start out writing to attract readers. Excellent advice, as always.

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

      Mercury, I agree with you. I have always found the first paragraph to be the most fun to write.

      Thanks for stopping by on this holiday.

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      Alex Munkachy 4 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      The 10 second rule is especially important for informational articles; in the first paragraph you've got to establish your "boss" voice and rope the reader in for more, either with humor, shock or any of the other ways you described. The first paragraph is the most fun to write. It gives you space to be a little weird, creative, etc. Great hub.

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

      Very nice, Annette. I think the intro is overlooked quite often. When I was teaching it is the one thing I continued to drill into the heads of my students.....make it interesting or you lose the reader very quickly.

      Thank you for the visit and for following me.

    • Annette Hendley profile image

      Annette Hendley 4 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      Excellent writing and so true. I have trouble with the intro paragraphs. This will help a lot. I recently did a couple of articles for a clients where they wanted exactly the " This article will discuss....". It was part of their style guide.

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

      Theresa, I have no idea how many papers I saw over the years that started that way, and I just wanted to scream. I'm the one who assigned the paper so I'm pretty sure I don't need the student to tell me what it is about. LOL

      Thanks for your reflection my friend and have a great day.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Bill - Great Hub and great advice. I don't consciously think about grabbing my audience in the first ten seconds, although I know I probably should. I may need to go back and rethink some of my hub introductory paragraphs. Hmmm . . . :(

      But I burst out laughing (and then felt like crying) when you mentioned the students who start out with " In this paper I will tell you about /describe/discuss/ etc." OH dear Lord. Don't tell us what you are going to do, just do it!

      I recently worked with a lovely woman who graduated with Honors two years ago, BA in religion and history. I was editing and making suggestions for a couple of papers for her MA program. I cannot tell you often she started out that way. I finally had to get in her face and say "STOP IT! That is a terrible and juvenile approach. You can do better than this." She could and she did. Amazingly, we are still friends. :) Excellent hub. Theresa

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

      Thank you Ron! I think most of us realize the importance of this, but it is easy to forget about it. That's all this hub is, is a reminder.

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      Ronald E Franklin 4 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      Interesting hub made more so by the examples. As you say, some of them made me cringe and I couldn't imagine using myself, but they illustrate the point very well. The 10-second rule is something I've known about, but was not consciously thinking about. I will now. So, thanks!

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      Dil Vil 4 years ago from India

      Well written hub with great tips, thanks for the great share! I had a good read and have learnt good things. Thank you friend.

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

      Madhavigk, it is my pleasure. Once a teacher always a teacher. :)

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

      Ann, it is so nice to see you back. You are one of my oldest "friends" here and it brings a smile to my face to see you again. Blessings to you, Ann!

      bill

    • Madhavigk profile image

      Madhavi 4 years ago from Bangalore

      Well written billybuc! Thanks for all these helpful tips for us beginners!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 4 years ago from SW England

      Good to get back to you billy! Wifi here in our secluded neck of the woods in France is a nightmare so if this trails off, you know why. I'm typing really quickly so errors are the fault of an intermittent signal, not mine - how's that for a good excuse.

      You're so right about the 10 seconds. One of the best first sentences in a novel is that of 'The Crow Road' by Iain Banks - I'll leave you to have a look - but it had me hooked and it's a great read.

      All the best & I'll get back asap! Ann

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

      Lesley, this one I guarantee. You can't go wrong following this rule of writing. :) Thanks for the visit and I hope you had a great weekend.

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      Lesleysherwood 4 years ago

      Bill, you are such a good teacher. I must heed your advice. I never think about catching the attention of the reader in the first paragraph, but I so am going to from now on. Thank you !!

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

      Vinaya, sadly your words are true, so we had best make that first paragraph a darn good one. :) Thank you Sir!

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

      Thank you jainismus! I hope you are having a nice weekend.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      Billy,

      you share some interesting examples.

      People don't have time, if we fail to arouse curiosity in the first paragraph, they will never read our work.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 4 years ago from Pune, India

      Great rules, every writer should follow them...

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

      Casey, it's nice to have you visit my site. Thank you!

    • caseymel profile image

      caseymel 4 years ago from Indiana

      That's a great tip and it's so simple!

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

      dwachira, your niche is a tough one for the ten second rule, but I have confidence you will find a way. Thank you for the visit my friend and blessings to you.

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi Bill,

      I didn't know the 3 seconds food rule was universal until i read it here, i did apply the rule too when i young and i just can't believe how naive we were then. Reading about the 10 seconds writing rule, i kept asking myself, how am i going to do this when i hit readers with programming codes at the first instance? I guess after all. it is doable. Thanks for sharing with us. Voted up and useful.

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

      Thank you so much, Denise. I like helping people and I guess you are right because I always have. :) They can take the teacher out of the classroom but they can't take the classroom out of the teacher. :) have a great weekend my friend.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Bill-you are a natural teacher and it is evident in this hub. I loved the usefulness of the information and the examples you've added. In fact, the examples were very vivid, which emphasizes the importance of the lesson even more-well done. UP/U/I sharing.

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

      agusfanani, very true words my friend. That opening paragraph is crucial to success. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

      Thank you for the tips and those precious examples. I always learn valuable lessons from your hubs. The-Ten-Second-Rule-of-Writing really looks like a showcase where people window shop. They'll read more deeply our articles if they get attracted.

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

      Deb, I have no doubt that you can do this. :) I hope all is well in OK....and thank you!

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

      Tiger, we had a great day with sunshine, and I hope yours went well too. Thanks for stopping by once again; you are appreciated.

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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Ten seconds...I think I can do this...Billy, thanks for all the great tips to make us better at writing.

    • Insightful Tiger profile image

      Insightful Tiger 4 years ago

      Great tips mentor! I will take heed:) Hope you and your family are having a great day!

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

      Travmaj, my pleasure. If this helps some writers then fantastic. :) Thanks for the visit.

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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Thank you for the timely reminder - I plead guilty and I should know better.

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

      Thanks Rajan! I hope it is helpful to you, and I appreciate you stopping by so faithfully. Have a good evening my friend and sleep well.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      One more gem in this series of article writing hubs. Thanks for sharing , Bill.

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

      Well thank you Kathi! I enjoyed doing that interview. My first time on camera. :)

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 4 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      You have taken your teaching skills and transcended them through the written word . . . and very generously! Interesting interview at the end! Thank you Billy! Kathi :O)

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

      Alex, those are great examples.....thanks for sharing those because they speak volumes about the point of this hub.

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

      Leslie, the same with men? Man, talk about pressure on a guy! :) It takes me 15 seconds to work up the nerve to just say hello. LOL

      Thanks, Sis! I love your example from the insurance world. These are basic principles of marketing that have been around a long time simply because they are true. Worth considering! :)

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      SilverGenes 4 years ago

      Reading this hub reminded me of all those movies with the crusty old editor sending the cub reporter out to 'get the story kid' ... and the advice given by the newspaper editor in The Shipping News about the darkening sky... Imminent Storm Threatens Village... and when it passes by without incident... Village Spared From Deadly Storm. You sure captured my attention and kept it all the way through!

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      First of all i'd like to say that no one is really sure that Tom Cruise DIDN'T eat his wife's placenta - personally - it wouldn't surprise me a bit..lol

      Interestingly, Bill-Bro - i wrote a paper which turned into a speech - which turned into a DVD - called "The First Fifteen Seconds"...

      I worked for an insurance co for 14 years - and i specialized in the psychology of sales...

      if you don't catch the person's attention AND make a positive impression - they've already subconsciously formed a decision in 15 secs..

      Same with reading - if i'm not hooked - i'm GONE!

      (same with men...(KIDDING....geez...)

      awesome, as usual, my friend!

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

      Pamela, that is high praise and I thank you. This is an old lesson I have been teaching since I began as a teacher many decades ago. I just spruced it up a bit for my writer friends. :) Glad you liked it.

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      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      This might be the best hub you ever wrote! You caught me in the first 10 seconds and the topic was outstanding. I'm sure I need to pay more attention to that first paragraph and this was an excellent reminder. Very well done! Awesome and shared.

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

      Lea, thank you so much for the kind words. I'm glad to share something that you find valuable.

      Blessings my friend,

      bill

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

      Thank you PS, for making my point for me. I do the same thing at the library. Many a book has not passed muster after the first page. Amazing that there are published authors who have not learned this lesson.

      Blessings and a hug winging their way to Florida

      bill

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

      Thank you DDE. Just drawing upon my teaching days. Once a teacher always a teacher.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      mariasial, thank you so much for the visit.

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

      Martin, true words my friend. Thank you!

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

      Thank you Alicia.....example likes those definitely drive home the point.

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

      Sherry, that conclusion is an easy one to overlook. Thanks for the comment and affirmation of how important that first paragraph is.

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      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Billybuc I made a printout of this awesome and most valuable advice about writing. Voted up, useful and awesome. I will keep this page in my writing folder with notes on the book I am creating.

      Blessings always, Sparklea

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      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Mornin' Billy

      Yeppie....spent a lot of time encouraging, cajoling, and modeling THE HOOK when I taught writing. Some of the kids got it right away and others, not so much.

      Writing is hard work...did I just say that? I love it but for it to be worth reading, it takes work. Maybe not for the most gifted writers, those who have become noted Authors perhaps, but for me, it still is work.

      If I am going to all of the trouble to put it into words, I am going to try, and I underscore the TRY and hook readers from that first few seconds.

      You nailed it, for sure.

      When I select a book to read at the library or off of store's shelf, I read the first page, maybe. If I am not hooked, it goes back on the shelf unless someone has said, keep reading you will get into it.

      Thanks as usual for sharing this with us.

      Angels and hugs are on the way :) ps

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      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You always manage to put out the best of ideas on HP and so glad to read another one of your great suggestions and ideas.Most helpful and informative.

    • mariasial profile image

      maria sial 4 years ago from united kingdom

      Good topic and great hub ... rated up

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. It is a fool who doesn't learn from others or at least listen.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Great information, as always, Bill. I love the examples that you give. They are all very effective attention grabbers.

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      Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Grabbing the readers attention in the first paragraph is crucial! I know that when I visit any website I have my finger poised on the back button just in case it's too ho hum. Thanks for reminding me about the conclusion too, I think sometimes I just drift off...

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

      Pinto, thank you! I appreciate you visiting and commenting.

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

      Lurana, I taught with some teachers who used that approach and it literally incensed me. How could a teacher do it? Have they never read the classics????

      Thank you my friend.

    • pinto2011 profile image

      Subhas 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Quite interesting hub and you have really hooked me to your hub.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Great examples! I cannot stand the "In this article I will be discussing such-and-such" approach....but in one of my writing tutor jobs, I came across a few students whose teachers encouraged it! Gah!

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

      Cris, I have heard of the 4 W's, and it is mandatory in journalism....a little harder to do in an introduction for creative writing. It could be done but it sure sounds like a lot of work to me. LOL

      Thank you dear lady!

      love from Oly

      bill

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

      drbj, you might be very correct. Not much time to hit the mark. Better make that first couple sentences count. :) Thank you as always and I hope you are having a nice evening in Florida.

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

      anselome, thanks for the comment and welcome to HubPages. It might take a little getting used to, but you will see results because of it. Good luck to you my new friend.

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      Steve Anselmo 4 years ago from Thunder Bay

      Great article Bill. I will definitely remember the ten second rule for use in my future Hubs. I may even go back and apply it to previous ones. You definitely know your stuff. Those students were lucky to have the concept beaten into their skulls by you.

      Voted up and shared.

      Stay Excellent

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Very realistic meaningful suggestions, Bill, reminding us of the importance of our opening words. In today's world where so much media competes for our attention, 5 seconds might well become the norm.

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      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      In our journalism class (long ago), we were taught the rule of 4W, which I'm sure you know--Who, What, When and Where and then on creative writing, it is of course a different way in which the 10 second rule applies. You see the difference is - a journalist reacts, a writer thinks.

      Well, thank you for the free tutorial and reminder. I have the tendency to forget specially when fingers are itchy and heart is shouting --"just let it out" and in that case, I break the rule.

      Voting up and across, pinning and sharing.

      Love from the sky~

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

      Thank you Bill! Us Hubbers will read hubs written by friends no matter what the introduction looks like, but I wouldn't want to bet on that loyalty from a complete stranger. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie...LOL....maybe it's different in certain parts of the country. Down South things are always slower, right? You take as long as you need my friend. :) Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Stephanie! I need a reminder from time to time myself. Glad this is useful for you and I appreciate you stopping by.

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      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Very interesting. You certainly grabbed my very short attention span with "Bang, Wow, Bam". And yes, I do remember the 3 second rule. To be honest I had never heard of the 10 second rule in writing, but it makes perfect sense. This is something I am going to have to think about when writing new hubs. It makes perfect sense to me, if you don't get them in those first few seconds they are not going to hang around to read the entire article. What a great tip.

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      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago

      Great examples, I really enjoyed them. Writing is a real talent and some def do it better. I always thought that food thing was a 5 second rule, it is a wonder I am still alive! ^ as always.

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      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      Great advice, Bill! I, for one, need to be reminded now and then that not everyone is instantly enthralled with my opening paragraphs. Sometimes I ramble off for a while before getting to the nitty gritty. Now I've got to go back and read with the 10 second rule in mind...good guidelines!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL...Mary, that was a good one. Darn near slipped by me. As for the 3 second rule, I usually employ it when nobody is looking. :) Thanks my special friend.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, Cat, thanks, but I'm just walking my talk. I believe in helping people and I also believe it comes full circle. It certainly has for me here at HP. As for the common sense.....it's the simple things we often ignore or forget. We get so wrapped up in the message that we forget to attract. :) Thank you my dear. Have a great evening in NY.

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      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Come on, the 3 second rule still rules, unless of course you drop it in a dirt pile! Another great piece of advice backed up by some really cool opening paragraphs. The ability to hook in the first 10 seconds is surely a sign of a GOOD writer. Guess I'll go practice some opening paragraphs for 10 seconds or so.

      Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.

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      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      Billy,

      Gee, ya read this and almost think "Well, that's common sense", but how many of us actually neglect to use these concepts in our writing, at least from time to time. What you say is true; if I click on an article, especially a long one and I'm not interested from the very start, my mouse is quickly headed for the red X or the blue Back Arrow. So many people have such good things to say, but wait until someone has lost interest to say it.

      You are so thorough and have such good advice and tips, it amazes me that you will put this much time in helping others improve their writing. You certainly are swell Billy!

      Cat

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....Maria, that's a classic line by your Momma....behave and eat! Love it and love to you my supportive friend. Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, it is my pleasure. You aren't alone. A good introduction is tough to come by. I used to tell my students to think of something related to the subject matter of the article, and lead with that....but make it interesting. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Annie. I appreciate you always stopping by with an encouraging comment.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Peggy, Radcliffe needs no encouragement. LOL I love that girl, so thanks for mentioning her in your comment. As for your comment, we all need reminders from time to time. This is one of those rules that I have drummed into the heads of my students, so I try real hard never to forget it myself.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Linda! I would hate to have people think I'm uncouth. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure, Sydney! Stop by any old time. You are always welcome.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Whonu, good to see you my friend and thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, you said it all when you said you better be an expert writer if you plan on breaking the rules. I totally agree my friend, and I have seen it often over the years....still, beginners beware. It takes an expert to pull it off and gain a reaction like the one you had.

      Thank you for your kind words. I'm just giving back to a community that I love. :)

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      Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Bill,

      You and your writing hooks me usually in 3 seconds...as I am guilty of a super short attention span...

      Oooohhh, the food, my nurse's ears refuse to " hear" that rule...yet I can hear Momma saying " Mareer no one has died yet, behave yourself and eat it.". She had a sweet and sassy Southern drawl!

      Love your examples and your logic...Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria

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      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you so much for posting this. I'm always shaky when it comes to introductions so these tips will come in handy.

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      Annie Miller 4 years ago from Wichita Falls, Texas

      Super information and a most enjoyable read.