A comic guide on writing that perfect intro.
| If you have ever attended school, there is a good chance that you have been assigned to write a paper. It happens to all of us, sometimes without warning, other times we may not even understand what we are writing. The point is, eventually you have had to write that paper, and when it finally happened, as it does to all of us, you likely did not know how to start it. Writing a good introduction is one of the hardest parts of writing a paper, for you must worry about first catching the attention of the reader, then introducing your topic, and finally stating a thesis. To successfully begin a paper, and in effect finish one, you must start with an interesting introduction.
To begin, an introduction must catch the eye of the reader. This does not mean putting a profane word at the very beginning. Even though this may seem rather effective, there are better ways of getting attention. Such techniques may include asking a rhetorical question, such as “Have you ever caught your socks on fire?” or “Ever considered having a llama for a pet?” The reader may not necessarily need to answer the question to continue, yet it serves as a clue to the subject of the paper. This technique works especially well when the question actually pertains to the subject matter of the paper: rather than asking a question about miniature golf in a paper about reproductive patterns, it may be more effective to propose a question about reproductive patterns. Another technique that is very much like stating a question is to give a shocking statistic, or fact, that will interest the audience enough to continue reading. This, like the question, is better used when pertaining to the rest of the paper. “Thirty-four percent of socks are dangerously flammable,” is an example, for someone who read that in the first sentence would likely be hooked, and settle-in to read the rest of the paper.
Hypothetical examples are good ways to introduce a topic, and to pique the curiosity of the reader. Create a hypothetical story, or situation, and then model the outcome. This can also prove to provide specific insight later into the topic. An example could be, “Suppose you went down to the store, and they were out of your favorite cellophane,” or a similar story. The object of a Hypothetical example is to establish a connection between the reader and the piece, so as the reader is interested enough to move on. A reader in this situation would also have a favorite type of cellophane, and thus would the concern be stated.
The introduction must also include a Thesis: a statement of the purpose of the paper. This varies with the subject, but is usually located at the end of the introduction. The thesis is just a way of saying, “this is what my paper is about, this is what I expect you to learn.” The thesis is a very important part of any paper, and is a narrowed and specific statement, concerned only with the subject of the paper. It is often led up to, with a narrowing view of the introduction. The introduction typically starts very broad, and then gets more and more specific until the thesis is stated. The thesis concludes the first, and to some, most difficult part of writing a paper. Now that you have discovered techniques to use, a lackluster introduction should never be a problem again.
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