the lead paragraph of your chapter grab the attention
of your reader? It should you know. We can take example in principle
from good journalism, newspapers, speeches, even movies. They
all seek to grab your attention in the beginning to spark interest.
a universal principle that if you don't start well it lessens
your chance of finishing well. So, in this tutorial I talk to
you about carefully crafting the lead paragraph of your
chapter. In your first one or two sentences tell who, what,
when, where, and why. Try to capture the interest of the reader
(hook) by beginning with a funny, interesting, or surprising
statement. Throughout your chapters start in a variety of ways.
A question or a provocative statement are good ones to begin
I don't want to make it sound more complicated than it is. For
instance, you are writing a complex scientific book; you read
my tutorial and decide you need a more dramatic opening. You
probably don't; use a simple question or startling statistic.
So, let's just keep it simple. Remember the opening statement
or paragraph is designed to get the reader's attention. It's
up to you to write a chapter that keeps their attention. Here's
five tips to create attention grabbing opening statements in
all your chapters.
Startling Statistics. Supporting statistics can make
a great opening statement. Use the statistic to expose the need
for your solution presented in the book. For example, a friend
of mine opened his chapter 'Pushing Past the Pain of Fatherlessness'
with a mix of the question and statistic statement. The chapter
was about fatherlessness and alcholism. The opening was, "Did
you know an estimated 43% of US adults have had someone related
to them who is presently, or was, an alcholic?"
Question. When opening your chapter, seek to call attention
much like you would when a speaker hits the desk with a gavel
to call a meeting to order. At the gavel sound, everyone looks
up to see what the person has to say. In a similiar way, seek
to strike attention with a poignant question. For example in
an author's book about middle-aged couples and sex she opened
with the question, "Are you getting enough sex in your
marriage?" Most times people unconsciously answer the question
you pose in their minds. The key is to provide the answers in
your chapter including statistics. Another quick example of
an opening paragragh with a question and startling statistic,
"Have you felt afraid to buy online? Like it or not, many
are still cautious of buying on the web. A Boston Consulting
Group Consumer Survey found that 70% of respondents worry about
making purchases online."
Provocative Statement. Merriam-Webster.com online dictionary
defined provocative with words like provoke, excite, or stimulate.
Provocative questions or statements are great ways to open your
chapter. Even so, use this principle with caution. For you might
receive a fair share of unwanted responses along with your most
wanted responses. For intance, this real estate author wrote
in her chapter's opening statement, "Did you stamp loser
on your house interior before your first open house?"
the reader might ask, "Are you saying I'm making staging
mistakes that stamp loser on my house before the first potential
buyer walks in?" You would want to know especially, if
you've been working hard to prepare your house to go on the
market. Provocative statements are designed to pull at our attention
like an electric shock. They make us curious. They sometimes
make us mad. They make us feel a lot of different things but
most of all they make us read.
Interesting story. Good stories grab the attention
of your reader. It should be a short story if you are using
it to open the chapter. One to two paragraphs should do it.
If you have a good story to capture the interest of your reader,
but feel you can't make it shorter. Practice cutting it down
to bare details. Write it out fully; then cut a few sentences.
A little later, cut some more. Trust me; each time you cut you
get less attached to telling it the old way. Until finally,
you have a short, succinct but powerful story to draw your reader
into the chapter.
Bait. Hold out an intellectual carrot or red string
to entice your reader. Our human nature compels us to reach
for the carrot or pull on the string. As you may know the baiting
principle works in many different areas. As an opening statement,
give away a part of your valuable content in the first few sentences.
If your reader is interested in your topic at all she will most
likely continue reading a part of your chapter to get the rest
of the information. Don't forget to follow the journalism principle,
best firt. Don't bury your best information deep in the chapter.
Write in all your best information first and lesser important
information goes in last.
writing great opening paragraphs for each chapter in your book
and set the stage for your potential readers. Add the above
valuable skill and you add magnetic pulling power and punch
that gets your reader's attention and makes them want to read
your important message. Open well and prosper as a book author!