How to Write An Engaging Introduction to Keep the Audience Involved with the Story
Student writers often overlook the importance of the introduction and conclusion, and generally save these components to complete after the body of the text is completed. Tossing in a few words to introduce or wrap up a discussion can be detrimental to your entire essay. Both components have very important functions:
In order to recognize an "effective" introduction, it is a good idea to review a few poorly developed introductory paragraphs and why they are ineffective.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center offers an excellent discussion of the types of Introductions students often draft but should avoid. A copy of the Introductions handout can be found by clicking anywhere in this section. In addition to the Placeholder, Restated Question, Webster's Dictionary, the Dawn of Man, and the Book Report styles of introductions discussed by UNC, the Announcement technique should also be avoided. This is when the writer makes an "announcement" concerning the subject matter:
WHY THE INTRODUCTION IS IMPORTANT
An effective introduction performs a number of critical functions in an essay:
There are a number of techniques you can use to engage readers with your writing:
THE QUOTATION LEAD [TOP]
You can offer a quotation. It doesn’t necessarily have to be famous – but it must be clearly related to your subject matter. You must also explain its importance to your thesis.
THE STARTLING STATISTIC [TOP]
This is self explanatory. You can offer a startling piece of information related to your subject matter.
THE BACKGROUND OR HISTORICAL LEAD [TOP]
This type of introduction seeks to educate the reader to circumstances surrounding the subject matter.
SET THE SCENE [TOP]
This type of introduction provides a clear illustration of the setting of the discussion..
This type of introduction could be an imaginative projection of the future, or some hypothetical moment to make a point.
NOTE: Formal writing guidelines dictate the use of Third Person Perspective. This technique calls for the use of second person in order to put the reader right into the action. You may wish to consult your instructor before using this perspective in your writing in class to avoid any penalties.
ASK A (RELEVANT) QUESTION [TOP]
Provoke your reader to consider the problem but remember, this technique must be used with care. If you ask a yes or no question, “Have you ever thought about how many innocent people have been put on death row?” And the answer is, “no”, you may lose your reader right away. When using this technique, make sure you use an open-ended question (why, how).
Learning should be challenging but not frustrating. Please do not hesitate to contact your instructor with any questions or concerns you may have in any of your classes. Be sure to make your issue very clear to avoid losing precious time to question clarifications through email replies.
See these additional resources on this subject:
Learning should be challenging but not frustrating. I am happy to provide these stress-free suggestions for making your journey to success one to enjoy!