Tuesday, December 08, 2009

weekly writing coach: begin, again

Strong starts make strong writing. But sometimes, you need to reconsider the rut you may be in with your leads, introductions and openings. No matter what type of writing you're doing, consider these options to change up your starting style:
  • Work a relay: Write everything but the opening, then hand off to a fellow writer on your team. Better yet, hand off to more than one writer. It's a great way for an entire team to see alternate ways to open a speech, release or essay.
  • Put the finish in the start: Writing something where the conclusion's important to the opening? That may be a puzzling piece of research that requires you to put a punchline in the lead for a quick and complete grasp of the facts, like the last line in this one. Or you may want to presage an ending in the start of a speech.
  • Start in the middle: You may want to save the writing of your opening till last, as part of a writing process that helps many writers get started. But you also may want to tell a story by starting in the middle, using the rest of the narrative to catch your readers and listeners up with what came before, rather than beginning, well, at the beginning. That's especially true if you're translating from the technical: Don't start with the beginning of your entire field of study, but with what matters to your audience today.
Related posts: Why you don't have to start at the top

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