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Tips For Writing Great Introductions

Updated on August 18, 2013

Beating a Dead Horse

Good seasons start with good beginnings.

Sparky Anderson

Any article that begins with a quote by the old baseball professor Sparky Anderson has a chance at success. At least I hope so.

Listen, I don’t know how many more times I have it in me to drill this lesson into your collective brains, but I’m going to try at least one more time. Obviously I have failed miserably in my other attempts, because I am still reading articles that have atrocious introductions or no introduction at all, and to this old teacher that is just unacceptable.

How can I say this without repeating myself? I can’t, so I will. You have ten seconds to grab the attention of your readers….ten seconds….after that brief amount of time your readers will either be interested enough to read the rest of your article/story/book or they will use it to line the bird cage.

Which outcome do you want?

It really all depends on whether you want to improve as a writer or simply get a “click” on Bubblews.

I’m going to give you six suggestions to help you write a better introduction. Use them….don’t use them…it is entirely up to you. But when your writing career goes up in smoke and you can’t even get your husband or wife to read one of your articles, maybe you will remember back to this article when I tried….Lord knows I tried….to help you out.

Where the writing process begins
Where the writing process begins

A STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLE

Think of a truth or principle that is universally acknowledged and use it as your opening sentence. Now of course, it is important that the rest of the article/story conforms to that principle; otherwise you will have some very confused readers. J

Jane Austin used this technique in “Pride and Prejudice.”…..”

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

So did Leo Tolstoy in “Anna Karenina.”

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." If it was good enough for Tolstoy and Austin then it just might work for you.

A STATEMENT OF SIMPLE FACT

Try summarizing your story or book in one sentence and using that as your introductory line. Sound simple? I think you’ll find it is harder than it sounds, but if you can do it effectively you just might have a winner.

It worked for Isak Dinesen in “Out of Africa” with this opening line: “I had a farm in Africa.”

It should be noted that the sentences immediately following that first one better be darned good, or you are facing huge disappointments.

I give you the first paragraph of “To Kill A Mockingbird” for a vivid example of this tip:

"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.... When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out."

That, my friends, is a brilliant introduction, and it really does summarize the whole book if you think about it.

A STATEMENT OF COMBINED FACTS

Let me explain this by an example.

If I were to start an essay by saying….”In a town there was a woman who wanted to help mankind” you would say oh, that’s nice, but so what? There really is nothing special about that now is there?

If I were to start an essay by saying…”In a town there was a woman who communicated with the spirit world” you would say oh, that’s nice, but so what? There really is nothing special about that, either, is there?

But if I were to start an essay by saying….”In a town there was a woman who wanted to help mankind by communicating with the spirit world”….now I have piqued your interest.

Use the gifts you were given for better writing
Use the gifts you were given for better writing | Source
Source

A STATEMENT THAT ESTABLISHES MOOD

I have spoken before about setting the scene for your story, book or article, and one way to set the scene is by establishing mood.

If I wanted to write an article about a serial killer it might go something like this:

“It was a bright, sultry day in the little farming community. Folks moved slowly that day as the heat weighed down upon them, an almost physical weight to bear. Deliveries were made, meals were eaten, businesses were opened, and a small child was snatched from her yard, never to be seen again.”

The English language, when used properly, is a beautiful thing to behold. Use it to your advantage.

A STATEMENT THAT ESTABLISHES VOICE

The use of a unique writing voice may well be the most effective way of beginning a story, article or book. Here we are not interested so much in the story itself as we are the magnetism of the writer’s ability to grab the reader’s attention with a distinctive style.

A perfect example of this introduction is the opening line of “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess….”What’s it going to be then, eh?” This opening sentence has nothing to do with the book; it gives not one clue what the plot is about. All it does is establish the frightening voice that will be with you throughout the entire book.

A STATEMENT OF SIMPLE FACT WITH GREAT SIGNIFICANCE

We see this introductory style in many of the great mysteries. Leaving a clue which seems totally mundane, but by the end of the book we realize that the key to the whole mystery was given to us in the opening sentence.

If I were to write a murder mystery, my opening sentence might be…..”Sometimes the most meek among us are the most frightening.” After reading the story we find out that the milquetoast wallflower, the one nobody notices for decades, has actually killed fifteen people in horrific ways.

A good story can become great with a powerful scene at the beginning.
A good story can become great with a powerful scene at the beginning.

Will these suggestions help you?

See results

And That’s the End of Today’s Lesson

The rules of good writing are rules because they are time-tested. They are proven to work, for all writers, and they have worked for centuries. A smart writer, and I’m going to assume that you are all smart writers, will use those rules to improve their writing.

So what’s it going to be, eh? Are you going to begin your next piece of work with something memorable, or are you going to clean out that bird cage and use your next writing piece to catch the droppings?

The choice is yours!

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 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is a challenge, aesta, but I know you can do it. :) Thank you and Happy Sunday to you.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Another learning session for me. This is one of my goals now: to write engaging introductions. It's a challenge.

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

      Thank you so much, Dianna! Maybe I'll turn them into articles or a book some day. Have a great weekend my friend.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I only wish your introductions here had more story behind them -- they are so well done and lead me wanting more. Thank you for the tips and education. Enjoy your weekend.

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

      drbj, I'm thinking it might need a little touch up during the final edit. LOL Carry on my friend and have a great weekend.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      So, Bill, I guess that '... it was a dark and stormy night ...' would need major improvements. Right? :)

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

      Doc, you are very welcome. Thank you my friend and good luck with the old hubs.

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      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      An article worth reading. I have to go back to my old hubs and apply these principles. Thank you Bill.

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

      Deb, thank you and that is great news. Hooray for you my friend. The hard work pays off.

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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      And you teach so well. You'd better swell up your head, because The Twentieth Hour is being published with MoonMagazine.org on September 2.

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

      LOL Phoenix, I love your last comment. I guess it's love my friend. We love writing no matter how aggravating it can be. Good luck with that short story and thank you for stopping by.

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

      I enjoy doing it, vkwok.....the teacher in me never dies. Thank you!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thanks for the lesson, again. I know you must be frustrated with constantly repeating yourself (I have kids. I feel your pain.) but I quite enjoy these hubs. Repetition is how I learn. And it's quite timely. I am trying to come up with a short story that was inspired by a random comment my daughter made while were trying out an 'all-you-can-eat' breakfast buffet. (It's wasn't bad but it's not on my 'let's-do-it again' list.

      I've got a rough outline on a scrap of paper somewhere on my desk but the intro has got me stumped. The situation itself is fairly mundane which I think will provide a good contrast to the twist ending. My problem is I want to suck the reader in and keep him interested but I don't want to give too much away. Why do we do this to ourselves?

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for always looking out for us writers.

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

      Well Marlene, if you ever get one, you know what to line it with.....just print out a few bad hubs you read. :)

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      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      No, I don't have a bird cage. Lol.

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

      Thank you Marlene! Do you even have a bird cage? LOL

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      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      ”In a town there was a woman who wanted to help mankind by communicating with the spirit world”….now I have piqued your interest... you have definitely piqued my interest with this line as opposed to the other examples that you used. A very good hub on the rules of good writing and no, I am not going to clean out the bird cage. I will keep these principles in mind for my next hub or story

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

      Jaye, I honestly did not think your hub was beneath your standards, but I understand if you did. Often, for me, if I'm writing about something that caused me emotional turmoil, my writing voice is overpowered by my emotions, and what comes out is not my normal writing.

      I like this intro; starting out with the event is a powerful tool and you did it well.

      bill

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      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Bill - I realized this morning that I published my latest hub (about HGE) too soon, and it didn't meet the standards of writing I normally set for myself. When I re-read it, I felt embarrassed--beginning with the intro!

      I clicked on EDIT mode and proceeded to re-write the introduction, then did quite a bit more editing throughout the piece. It's still not finished to my satisfaction, so I may work on it again tomorrow.

      In the meantime, if you have a free minute, please check out the "new and improved" intro to that hub and see if you don't think it's better....Jaye

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

      Thank you L.M.....glad you could stop by.

    • L.M. Hosler profile image

      L.M. Hosler 4 years ago

      Awesome tips that I will be sure to give it a try. Thanks for the lesson.

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

      A1an, so glad you found this helpful. Thanks for the visit and good luck.

    • A1an profile image

      Alan Ford 4 years ago

      Am sure glad I stumbled in here for a good read. Appreciate the insightful wisdom shared. My writing improved as I read along. Thanks for sharing.

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

      Ryem, I'm glad you liked it and thank you. Introductions just take practice. Keep at it and you'll get there in time.

    • Ryem profile image

      Ryem 4 years ago from Maryland

      Bill, this is great! I am a horrible introduction writer.

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

      Rosemay, good luck to you. Keep practicing and it will come.

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

      My pleasure Alicia, and I appreciate you always being here.

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

      La Verne, you are very welcome; thank you for stopping by.

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

      Thank you Bill! It's always a pleasure having you stop by my friend. Have a great week at work and at home.

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      Rosemary Sadler 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      Thank you for the tops Bill, the opening starter is the thing I have problems with. I try but never quite get it right. Hopefully heeding your advice and seeing your examples will help me in the future.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for reminding us again of the importance of the introduction and for giving us some great examples, Bill.

    • La Verne Amigo profile image

      La Verne Amigo 4 years ago from Philippines

      great tips...very useful for me as a starter... thanks for sharing

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Some of us old dogs need to be re-schooled to learn a new trick I guess. You're certainly dong your part in trying to make us all better writers. Thank you the great tips, you never disappoint.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, you leave the greatest comments. This one touched my heart. The story about your neighbor is precious, and the implications are heartwarming. Thank you my dear friend and good luck with that novel....what color PJ's? LOL

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      DJ Anderson 4 years ago

      You always give great information, Bill.

      I do pay attention to the tips that are passed along.

      I'm doing 'aces' on my novel and my husband is going to be out of town for a week!!! YEA!! If it wasn't for taking the dog for her walks, I could sit here in my PJ'S for the next week and just write until I fell out of the chair. Ha, ha

      Thanks a million, Bill.

      I want to share something, here.

      When the heart is open, opportunities to help others, will present itself. It has been the philosophy we live by.

      I volunteered my husband to drive our elderly neighbor to her insurance company, today. She was able to get some issues straighten out and it save her 27, 000. She said she would rest

      peacefully for the first time in many months.

      We have great neighbors. They are extended family.

      We are the lucky ones.

      Thank you, again, for all that you do.

      We are the lucky ones, here at HP.

      DJ.

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

      LOL...Paula, that's the toughest I have in me today, so you pass with flying colors.

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      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Yes, of course these suggestions are all great and we should TRY them!! You never steer us wrong!......Now, ask a TOUGH question!....UP+++ shared and tweeted

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

      Anna, it truly is my pleasure. No sense in holding on to information gathered.....pay it forward my friend.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 4 years ago from Scotland

      More sound advice and good ideas; generously shared.

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge and be assured ... we are all listening :)

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

      Liz, I found the book description to be the hardest. For some reason introductions come easy to me, but that's only because I am so conscious of them and have worked at them for years. Good luck with your inventory and I hope there are few curses. LOL

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      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I saw this heading in the beginning of the day but wanted to wait until I had ample time to read it because I knew it would be good! You know I'll be looking back at my previous articles and either saying "Yes, I did it" or "Shucks" followed by a few curses! It is true that first line can take forever to think of, just as the last line and in a book, the book description is one of the most difficult for me. But it seems to be these "little" things that make a world of difference. Okay- now off to either pat myself on the back or curse a little. :) Thanks for the tips, as usual. I'll be back tomorrow to read some more!

      Liz

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

      Glad to hear it Man of Strength, and thank you so much for your kind words.

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

      Suzie, believe it or not I actually check yours on every article that you do and yes, you are doing a great job. :) The teacher is always watching. LOL

      Thank you Suzie! You are appreciated.

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

      Melissa, I'm going to scream if I read one more article without an introduction. LOL You will be able to hear me from Minnesota.

      Thanks my kind and loyal student.

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

      My pleasure Denise. Thanks for stopping by and good luck with these tips.

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

      Kim, that was a good one. Thanks and you are very welcome.

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

      mylinda, I hope these help you. It's interesting that so many people have trouble with the intro. I've been teaching this for so many years that it comes second nature for me to write one. :) Good luck!

    • Man of Strength profile image

      Man of Strength 4 years ago from Orlando, Fl

      Thanks Bill, this hub alone confirms your importance here on HubPages. This is invaluable advice that I will use going forward. Thanks again and voted up!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Well if we all don't take heed and take your well explained examples on board we don't deserve to call ourselves writers. Great examples making it all so clear. i have been paying attention and hope it is transpiring in my work. Thanks Bill, appreciate your tireless work to make us all be the very best we can be. Love ya bud!

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      Melissa Propp 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Bill, you sound like you are practicing tough love with your wanna-be writer followers! Great advice, as usual!

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thank you, thank you, thank you, for repeating yourself, so that those of us who haven't read or heard it before can get the message! I will definitely take this lesson into consideration.

    • klidstone1970 profile image

      இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу 4 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

      I'm going to tattoo this on my forehead so every time I work on an intro I'll see it reflected at me from my computer screen and know I better pull my socks up! ;) Thanks Bill, as always.

      Kim

    • mylindaelliott profile image

      mylindaelliott 4 years ago from Louisiana

      Thank you for all the tips. I find, at least for me, that the introduction is the hardest part. Sometimes I just write from the middle.

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

      Always a pleasure, Faith....thank you for being such a loyal and loving follower and friend.

      love and blessings

      bill

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

      Dora, you just proved my point. If you remember Austin's line then I would say it was a great introduction, wouldn't you? Thank you for that.

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      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Bill, it's our fault if we don't learn what you teach so ably. By the way, all those quotes at the beginning are familiar to me and Jane Austen's first sentence in Pride and Prejudice is always in my memory. Thank you for another valuable lesson.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Thanks Bill for another reminder here!

      When I do the summary here on the hubs, it is sometimes easy to forget that it does not show up when people click on the email and it goes straight to one's hubs, and so they do not see the summary.

      Appreciate the reminder again.

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

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

      Mary, you aren't fooling me. I've read your work and no way is it ending up in a bird cage. You are a fine writer my friend and will only get better from here on.

      Thanks Mary and have a great week.

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

      Thank you Linda! I always appreciate you stopping by.

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      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Some of us are thicker skulled than others and drilling things into our brain is a good thing! Summarizing your hub in your opening sentence is a great challenge.

      As always sensei you show us the way with examples and simple directions. I do have a bird cage you know, so anyone who has extra paper....oh wait, I think I have some.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

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      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thumbs up Bill! Well done. I will try my best to catch the readers attention :)

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

      Thanks Deb, and I agree....and all care should be given to it because of its importance.

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

      Hey Marissa, I was just thinking about you. Good to see you my dear; I hope you are well.

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      Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

      Great tips. The first sentence is so often the most difficult one to write.

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      Marissa D. Carnahan 4 years ago from Nevada

      Bill, this is great writing advice - Sometimes it's difficult to write that first sentence!

      Thanks as always :)

      Marissa

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michele, I'm smiling at your comment. It is a gift, isn't it? This life is a magical mystery tour and I, for one, am going to wring every ounce of joy from it that I can. Thank you for the smile you gave me.

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      Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      I love your hubs. Even though I don't comment on all of them. But, the best thing about them, is each and every one of them gives me more information, to store in my little brain. They always teach me something. And after having brain surgery, putting information into my brain is a wonderful gift.

      Michele

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, thank you my dear friend. In truth many of my former students do remember this lesson and many more like it. I almost literally pounded this into their skulls. LOL

      blessings my friend

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Austin, in all honesty, I love that intro. My attention was grabbed immediately....so well done and now on to the next 300 pages. :)

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      Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Yep, I've been writing this novel for decades. Haven't got past the first chapter.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Brilliant as always Billy ;and all I can say is that I bet many of your past pupils remember your lessons as being so positive and you have that knack of getting your point over so naturally.

      Keep them coming Billy and after reading your hubs I feel as if I was by your side.

      Great work from a great teacher.

      Enjoy your day.

      Eddy.

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

      Austin, I hope you write that novel....thanks for sharing that line...is that yours? I love it!

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

      Graham, it was and still is my favorite. Thanks my friend and I hope your week is a great one.

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      Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      oh man, my mouse giggled and I clicked the down button. And of course, there is no way to take it back. But I meant to click the up button!

      I hope I mitigated that by clicking on the useful and interesting kudos.

      Nice article and I hope to write a novel intro someday, maybe,

      'She always believed that humans could become sea breathers again, our lungs being not so much different from other sea creatures. It's just a matter of oxygen/CO2 exchange after all. Nothing modern science can't handle.'

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      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. Excellent as is usual. 'Mocking bird' really seems to be your favourite fiction.

      Graham.

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

      LOL....drives me crazy that I continue to read articles with boring introductions. Sheez, that's a part of my life I'll never get back.

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      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Your exasperated voice is one of my favorites.

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

      Crafty, keep practicing; once it comes I think you'll see it to be much easier from then on.

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

      Carol, this is perhaps my greatest pet peeve and one I won't stop preaching....without a slam dunk introduction you are wasting your time writing the rest of the article....today's world has no time to "find out" if you are a good writer...you need to prove it very early on. :) Thanks my friend; you are appreciated.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      This is so true. This is the hardest part of writing for me. Finding that opening sentence to summarize the entire article which will keep the reader's attention. Thank you!

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      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      This is so true and I know when starting a new book and the opening is boring..I sort of have a ho hum attitude. Great advice here and something we should all think of everytime we write anything...Voting up and pinning.

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

      DDE, I have lived a long time so it only follows that I have a great many lessons to teach. :) Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Randi, I think you are right on with your reason why writers forget about the intro; sadly, the message is never read because of this most very important item. :) Have a great week and thank you.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathryn, I'm the same way....I refuse to spend much time in the gutter....it kind of stinks down there. :)

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      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Most helpful tips from yon for Writing Great Introductions, tips here for every writer. You always manage to share such informative hubs thanks

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      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Great and valid examples! I think sometimes we just feet do excited with the message, we forget that there needs to be a lure too draw them in. Thank you, Bill, for another valuable lesson!

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      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Bill,

      You're awesome! Thanks, and I appreciate it. I'm fine, I am just going through a few rough patches. Up and down, but very up right now. I can never stay down for long, because I am a positive person. It just takes time to get used to a "new normal".

      ~ Kathryn

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marilyn, it really is my pleasure. What good is a gift if you can't give it away, and whatever gifts I have picked up over the years need to be shared. Thank you for your kind words.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathryn, I did have a great weekend, but I'm more concerned about you. Listen, you are always welcome in Olympia, Washington; we even have an extra room from you until you get on your feet. :) Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kelly, if I didn't already know how great you are, the fact that you love Mockingbird pretty much proves it. :) Thanks my feisty friend.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....Eric, you had me laughing out loud with that comment. If there were a Holland University I would have been expelled a long time ago. :) Thanks buddy and have a great week.

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      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      I am working on a hub now, but decided I could benefit from reading this now, before I publish it.

      Great tips, Bill. I will bookmark this, and read it again and again in the future. Thanks for sharing it with us, Bill. I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

      ~ Kathryn

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      Marilyn L Davis 4 years ago from Georgia

      Seconding Jaye's comments.

      I knew what I wanted to say and forgot to remember what you might like to read. Important distinction and one you cover, as usual, very well in your article.

      Thanks for your generosity and for helping us make better writers. I appreciate your knowledge, and your spirit of giving. Voted up.

      Marilyn

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I think most teachers get this, but it's amazing how many writers do not, and it is arguably the most important part of any written piece. Sheez! LOL

      Have a great week and thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, you said it perfectly. This is one lesson I refuse to stop teaching. This is where most writers lose their audience, and it is such an easy fix.

      Anyway, thank you young lady and I hope you have a great week.

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      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Great hub article Bill! I love how you used the example from "To Kill A Mockingbird". Is one of our family favorite movies!

      We constantly tease each other about calling out Boo Radley:) LOL

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      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      "I just got up washed my face and shot a man just to watch him die"

      I do not quite have it down as well as you Rabbi, but I am having fun trying. Maybe when I get to be your age I can at least mimic the Master.

      How about Holland University?

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, it is make or break for a writer, and yet so many writers forget it......and then wonder why nobody is reading their stuff.

      Thank you my friend and have a most excellent adventure this week.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, I'm the same way and always will be. Insult me with a poor intro and I refuse to read your work....why should I care if the writer didn't care?

      Good luck with that new assignment. :) And of course, thank you so much.

      bill