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Good writers know that one of the most serious errors that can be made is by opening up right away with the main purpose of the writing this is an automatic turnoff for the reader!Think back to that brown, Pre-Approved Instant Winner envelope with the facsimile check!Perhaps you even call in family, or a close friend, telling them about this strange letter wanting them present when you open the envelope.
If the audience is perceived as a hip, upwardly-mobile group of African-American women, then you might want to open with a statement from someone like Joan Morgan, bell hooks, June Jordan, Sonia Sanchez, Alice Walker or If, on the other hand, you are directing your message to a teenaged readership based in the urban core, you might want to open with a quote from the socially conscious lyrics by one of the leading rap artists or groups.
Who would you use, for instance, if the paper was centered on the problems caused by gang violence?
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.
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.
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.
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.