Imagine yourself in a race and the gun is ready to begin the race. The Starter Gun goes, BANG!
This bang is how your magazine article needs to begin to pull readers into your article.
We live in this busy, hurry up, and get it done world. As an editor, I have authors who email me again after several days if they don’t get a response (just to make sure I got the first email—which I did). I’ve learned the hard way just to send a little email “got it” which reassures them. This same experience that I get in the world of book publishing is also true with magazines.
The attention of readers is pulled in many different directions. As an editor receives your magazine submission or after it gets in print, it is the writer’s obligation to draw the reader into your piece.
How do you begin?
Many writers are stuck with this question. They stare at their blank screen and are unsure how to get started. In this article I give four different methods to begin your article.
- Ask an interesting question. Can you summarize the theme of your article in a question? Or can you ask some intriguing question which begins your article? Asking a question can pull the reader into your article and answering the question can take the bulk of your article.
- Use a fascinating statistic or fact. A little research related to your topic can give you a statistic or fact to begin your article. Go to “google” or use a reference book on your shelf or any number of ways to get this statistic or fact as a means to begin your article. You can also go to your local library and ask the reference librarian for help with the statistic or fact. These professionals in the library are skilled answering these types of needs.
- Tell a short anecdote. We love and remember stories. A “different” story can be a terrific beginning for your magazine article and draw the reader into your story.
- Use a provocative quotation. Famous quotations can be another way to begin your magazine article. Pull the quotation from a book but this quotation can lead the reader through your magazine article.
If you are stuck starting your piece, select one of these methods and start typing. When your story is written, you can revise it later. The worst thing action and time waster for any writer is to stare into empty space and not begin writing. When this happens, you will not meet your editor’s expectations and deadline. As a writer, you can meet the editor’s expectations delivering an excellent article on their deadline. When you meet these expectations, you will become someone the editor will want to work with over and over.
Every writer needs to learn how to begin their article with a bang.
Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing, lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor, Whalin has written for more than 50 publications including Christianity Today and Writer’s Digest. Terry is the author of How to Succeed As An Article Writer which you can get at: Write a magazine article.com. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. His latest book is Billy Graham, A Biography of America’s Greatest Evangelist and the book website is at: Billy Graham Bio.com Watch the short book trailer for Billy Graham.