I thank each for the insights and observations over the years of commitment to developing voices among the students matriculating through the PAS Writing Program.To Simmons and Priestley, in particular, I give Well, my mother, who was not a writer, was not nearly so fanciful in saying to me during my grade school years that I would have to pay a lot of dues before amounting to anything in this world.
This is when you get the pitch from the company sponsoring the lottery: purchase one or more of their products with the notation that failing to do so will not detract from your ability to win the $100,000 Grand Sweepstakes Prize!
In marketing circles, this is referred to as The Hook: it is a 20-second window of opportunity wherein marketers gain your attention and make their sale.
Ive prepared this with three purposes in mind that are all related to improving the ability of aspiring writers to (1) capture the audiences attention from the onset with effective, clearly-written and articulated openings for paragraphs and longer compositions, (2) present cleanly-written and carefully-formulated thesis statements, and (3) finish compositions with strong, forceful conclusions that leave the reader talking and with something to think about.
Finally, a sincere note of appreciation has to be extended to my colleagues and associates in the Writing Program of the Pan African Studies Department at California State University, Northridge from the time this was first written some 15 years ago in 1986: Dr. Purnell (Professor Emeritus and founder of the PAS Writing Program as well as author of ).
With todays audiences becoming increasingly sophisticated and demanding, there is a premium on the attention span available. Knowing about and being able to make effective use of the various opening strategies can only enhance your skills as a writer.
Use a question or series of thought-provoking questions.
Imagine that same envelope in your mailbox, opening it up and immediately being hit on the head with Buy this.
Without a doubt, that envelope would go sailing into the trash can.
Here again, the best anecdotes are those coming from popular culture: from stories and events that people are aware of and talking about. You do this by presenting statistical data, facts, figures that underscore the issues about to be discussed.
The data must be pertinent, validated and presented in an objective manner free of any editorializing the facts speak for themselves; All of these opening strategies, or essay gambits, have one purpose and that is to focus the audience on your purpose for writing: your thesis statement.