Writing with Style

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Writing with Style
Chapter 3:
Openers
The challenge:
• You have 3-4 sentences maximum to gain the
reader’s interest and attention.
• Your boredom is revealed right away if you:
– show unwillingness to use your imagination
– show indifference towards the reader
– show that you are unclear in your thinking
A good opener…
• Has a good thesis– bold, fresh, clearly focused
• Uses a direct, “front-door” approach:
– Shows assurance, eagerness to share opinion
– Shows that authors know what they think, and
why they think it.
– Example: p. 26-7
A weak opener…
• May give a boring or unrelated plot summary
– Example: p. 27
• May show the art of saying nothing
profoundly
– Example: p. 28
• Shows use of the “back-door approach”
The back-door approach shows…
• The writer has trouble formulating a point of
view, little to argue, and little reason to argue.
• The writer is still preoccupied with getting ideas
on paper instead of showing consideration of the
reader.
• The writer does not write for a well-informed
reader but instead for a vague, general audience,
which leads to padding (= non-essential
information, wordiness, b.s.).
– Example: p. 28 (top)
Final tips
• Read pages 29-31