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You can read all the advice you want about writing a compelling opening, but it's often easier to learn by example.Let's see how some writers approached their essays and analyze why they work so well.Posing a question, defining the key term, giving a brief anecdote, using a playful joke or emotional appeal, or pulling out an interesting fact are just a few approaches you can take.
Yet, it is the possibility of a turn of fortunes that compels us to keep going.
This writer appealed to our emotions and a sense of shared experience to craft an effective read.
But when used as an opportunity to observe human nature, as this writer does, it turns from ordinary to fascinating. The descriptive language and the analogy to rats in a maze add to the intrigue, and readers are left wanting more.
For this reason, even though it's lengthy, this is an effective opening.
"In March 2006, I found myself, at 38, divorced, no kids, no home, and alone in a tiny rowing boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I’d had no human contact for weeks because my satellite phone had stopped working.
All four of my oars were broken, patched up with duct tape and splints.
An introductory paragraph, as the opening of a conventional essay, composition, or report, is designed to grab people's attention.
It informs readers about the topic and why they should care about it, but also adds enough intrigue to get them to continue to read.
The introduction should make sense and "hook" the reader right from the start. Typically, just three or four sentences are enough to set the stage for both long and short essays.
You can go into supporting information in the body of your essay, so don't tell the audience everything all at once.