Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak James chapter 1, verse 19

7 GREAT WAYS TO START AN ARTICLE

INTRODUCTION

Many young writers are full of ideas on topics to write about but they are often stumped about how to begin a piece. Sometimes, after writing and cancelling their first few sentences, they tend to give up. Below are seven ideas of what to start your articles with. The hyperlinked posts under each number show where these suggestions have been applied.

7 GREAT WAYS TO START AN ARTICLE

1. Summarise Your Main Point

You can summarise what you want to say at the beginning. Then you elaborate on it. That is how news stories are written.

The advantage of this is that it helps give your writing focus and saves time and effort for your readers- they don’t have to fish through a sea of words to catch your main point.

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2. Ask A Question/s

You can ask some questions related to your theme in the first paragraph. Subsequently, you carefully answer those questions.

The merit of asking questions is that they provoke curiosity and engagement. Some readers would begin to answer those questions and read to see if your answers align with theirs.

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3. Tell A Brief Story

You can tell a story that you want to use as an illustration of your message. (This is actually my favourite.) Immediately after that, you connect the story to your message and drive the latter home.

Stories are great attention-grabbers and work very well as long as they are concise and clearly related to your message. And stories are everywhere. You can get them from the news, literature, the Bible, interpersonal and group communication, etc. You will recall that Jesus told a lot of stories called parables to buttress his teachings.

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4. Make A Contrast

You can show striking contrasts between your subject and something else. If it’s a person, you can show how they’ve greatly changed over time in temperament or status, you can contrast them with someone else or you can show them in diametrically opposite roles.

Exploring the differences between the two things you have identified and expanding on the one that is your focus would make an interesting read if you describe them well.

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5. Draw An Analogy

You can also make an analogy. Comparing one thing to another stimulates visualisation and keen thinking as the reader seeks to see if the analogy is tenable. Your job will be to validate your assertion that the two things are similar.

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Analogies make for compelling reading for the same reason that figures of speech aid effective writing. They elicit mental images and show us similarities we would not otherwise see between objects and other phenomena.

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6. Cite A Maxim or A Striking Quotation

You can use a related maxim or a profound quotation. Thereafter, you establish its relevance to your theme and expound on your subject.

Maxims and striking quotations are nuggets of wisdom that appeal to people’s intellect and get them ready to absorb the substantiation or invalidation of the saying by your article.

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7. Use Direct Address

You can talk to the reader directly through the second person pronoun, you. You do this when you want to establish a connection that will give the reader a sense of involvement and identification with your message.

This works best when the writer is prepared to be very frank. So do not humour or patronise the reader. And it’s not a good approach when the writer is not empathetic.

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7 GREAT WAYS TO START AN ARTICLE

These are just some examples of how to start articles. You can even join elements of two or three of these approaches. However, what you use should depend on what you’re writing. The more you read and write, the more you’ll be able to instinctively choose the right beginning for each article you write.

Beyond the devices listed above for starting an article, the content the reader meets in the first few paragraphs matters a lot. Besides being able to hold his attention, it should be appropriate to the nature of the article and make a good impression of the motivation and character of the writer. This is especially important for Christian writers, who as representatives of Christ, are expected to be trustworthy and bear the fruit of the Spirit.

EXAMPLES OF BAD ARTICLE BEGINNINGS

• A fictional story on infidelity that starts by defining infidelity or giving statistics about the prevalence of infidelity or condemning infidelity.

The inclusion of such material is inappropriate. When writing fiction, you don’t teach explicitly or do direct exposition and commentary, except through your characters.

• A personality profile that begins with praise singing of the subject. That would make the credibility of the writer suspect.

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If the subject deserves praise, it should come from direct quotes of people interviewed to write the story. It can also be deduced by the reader from the factual narration of the subject’s achievements or generosity.

• A motivational post that begins by ridiculing or disparaging the readers. A condescending attitude will elicit hostility and resistance from the readers.

Even if what you’re writing about is a common wrongdoing, do not assume all your readers are guilty. And assuming they are all guilty, they may not take kindly to being upbraided by you.

Unless you’re seeking notoriety, in which case you deliberately provoke people to receive an avalanche of insults, include yourself among the guilty by using the first person plural or lay blame on some people, not everyone.

CONCLUSION

I hope you’ve found these 7 tips on how to start your articles helpful. I would be gratified if I learnt that you’ve actually started writing (if you weren’t doing so already) and that you’re no longer bogged down wondering, “How do I start my article?”

Feel free to share your experiences and ask questions on this topic in the main comment thread. God bless you.

Further reading:

HOW TO BEGIN AN ESSAY: 13 ENGAGING STRATEGIES

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO WRITING A COMPELLING ARTICLE INTRODUCTION

You may also like these related posts:

DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE? Key to overcoming writer’s block

AFRAID YOUR WRITING WON’T BE GOOD ENOUGH? 5 tips to help writers defeat self-doubt

JUST STARTING TO WRITE? Keep it short and simple

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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.

121 comments

  • Ugama Gloria Nkechinyere

    Nice one ma’am ?……early morning lecture for me.

  • Willie Albert Zikiye

    This post is very important. These are major writing techniques to start feature leads ( articles) and alternative leads. Thanks ma.

  • Very well stated ma.
    These points if well applied help beautify an article.
    An article has to be interesting to capture the readers’ attention which will motivate them to continue reading.
    Making use of stories in article goes a long way in spicing it up.

  • Abah Okpe Gabriel

    I believe this piece is solely for me, how to start writing an article most times is difficult for me not that I don’t know how to write but how to roll out my points, how am gonna pen them down mostly, I can relate this to when I listen to some of my favourite music and feel like shaking my body to the beats, I have all the moves and steps in my head but how to bring it to life is the problem ?
    Thank you ma for this piece.
    Practice next

  • Ezeobi Chisom Success

    This is really helpful for me…..
    Pls ma, can you throw more light on Point four- Make a contrast and Point five- Make an analogy

  • Igbokwe Rita Chinecherem

    Wow… This is so true and helpful to me. Thanks to you ma for taking out your time to enlighten me more on this. I will try to put it into practice.

  • Emmanuel Eze

    This guidelines are definitely important in writing articles, thanks for sharing because I must confess I also get stuck when trying to start articles.

  • Emmanuel Ejiofor

    I had to save this post. I like the way you gave us the hyperlinks for illustrating the points. It was very helpful. Thank you ma.

  • Nkan David

    A good detailed post as usual from our tutor. The good thing is that one can easily return to this blog anytime, anyday to learn again and get ideas on how to embark on a particular writing, whenever he/she stumbles.

    • You captured the reason for this labour of love. Social media posts are hard to locate after a long while unless you saved their links. But you can find what you want on a blog straight from a search engine.

      Have a blessed day!

  • Ossai Chidimma Linda

    I read and made mental notes and I also intend to return to this post whenever necessary.

  • Ewenike Kaosisochukwu Bethel Pedro

    If one could master these steps, writing an article would be something one could do just after waking up from slumber.

  • In writing an article, can this be applied to both fictional and nonfictional stories, ma?

    • Sometimes, yes. Read some of the stories in the Short Stories (Fiction) and Nonfiction categories on this blog and see how they were started. I don’t mean the Introductions I do to guide young people. I mean the actual beginning of the stories. Happy Sunday!

  • Thanks ma.
    I find this… So helpful, especially That Number two (Ask a question/s) is my best way to start an article because it will give me more reasons and valid points to write on.

  • Okoro Ugochi

    Well articulated, will be stored in my archive, thanks ma.

  • Chinweuba Blessing Oluchi

    This is really helpful.when writing I get stuck and do not know which direction to channel my thoughts to.
    Now that I have a better and more enlightened scope on it,I know I’ll do better

  • Okezi

    These tips are indeed helpful and will go a long way in helping me build up my writings. But, Ma, how do I overcome the fear of imperfections in writing? Cause anytime I feel I’m not getting it, I just lose interest in writing.

  • Aṅulika Iwoba

    Just what I’ve been dying to read!
    Recently, I wrote a piece that began with a brief story, but wasn’t very confident about the validity of that style.
    But only yesterday, I read a story from the Feature text that used the same format, and I was encouraged to write further, and now this!
    Thank you so much ma

  • Ekechukwu Francisca

    Good morning ma.
    This really came in handy. Thank you so much for sharing this

  • Asogwa Christian Tochukwu

    Thanks so much ma’am.I must confess that the aforementioned tips are very helpful and captivating. I learnt that one should organize his/her thoughts in an orderly manner while writing.

  • Chikwesiri Uka

    I find this post most helpful, since starting my write up is the hardest part. It will be a lot easier following what is said in the first point, that is, making a summary of the article first and elaborating further.

  • Ajah Ugochi Agnes

    This is a very nice and well-detailed piece. I love the part that says “tell a brief story” most writers and even public speakers do this a lot. “Summarise Your Main Point:
    You can summarise what you want to say at the beginning. Then you elaborate on it.” This is what a lecture of mine called “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you have told them”.
    Thanks ma, the tips are very helpful.

  • Abiayi Ifeonuchukwu

    Well – detailed and very enlightening write – up. Thank you so much ma for this wonderful post…It has really helped to clear any doubts in writing an article and this will definitely be a good guideline to follow.
    God bless you ma.

  • Igwe Chioma Esther

    Indeed,this post have been helpful. Thank you for taking out time to explain concisely to us. May your labor of love be rewarded.

  • Chilaka Vivian

    Thank you ma. I learnt that I should summarize my subject matter in order to help me draw my point well while writing.

  • Kelly Anwulika Bernice

    This is a very helpful piece,we can a tually come back and pick ideas on whatever we need. Thank you ma.

  • Ezeh Loveth chinemerem

    I believe that this article is meant for me. Most times it is always difficult for me to write an article.thank you ma for this post is really helpful

  • Sochi

    You are not only good in writing, you are also good in helping others be like you. Most people can write very well but can’t guide others to be like them but you can do both. I hope that one day I can be very good in writing like you and I will be able to nurture other young writers the way you are nurturing me with these write-ups.
    Thank you very much, ma!

  • Udop Reyner Ivor

    This piece is really helpful. I haven’t really tried article writing not because of the inability to put anything down but because of the difficulty on how to put out my points. With this, I should be able to write a good article . Thanks Ma

  • Ibeh Lorretta Chiamaka

    Sometimes we have an idea about a message but organising the message becomes a problem. Thanks Ma for this tips, they were really helpful

  • Udegbulam Favour Oluchi

    This is an important post, most times i have a lot of ideas but how to construct and write down my points is sometimes difficult for me. However, these steps will help me henceforth.

  • Chibuife Isaac Chukwuebuka

    Well-detailed ma! I believe with this I can be able to resume my article writing. Thank you ma for this as I pray to put all of these into practice soon.

  • Nwoke uchenna

    Getting the readers involved,seems that has been lacking in my articles. Hope to put this to my work. Thank you ma.

  • Agbowo Emmanuel chiagozie

    Well detailed ma…this is really going to help me write something great down.

  • Ugwu Doris chinenye

    Thank you so much ma now I know my faults from my article in my secondary school magazine. I need maximum focus and effort especially when it comes to the story and analogy, just to make my work near using second person pronoun.

  • Olusola Esther

    Great tips Ma’am
    The fear of making mistakes, using wrong sentences and plenty words has stopped many people from writing.

  • Eze Nelson Emeka

    Practice makes perfect, with these words of encouragement and upliftment. I will start writing today.

  • Eze Esther Nzubechukwu

    Well done done ma,
    Summarising what you want to say at the beginning helps to give an idea of what your article will look like

  • Obiora Miracle onyinyechi

    This is so helpful and detailed, I was afraid about starting an article, but with this explanation I can comfortably start one. Thank you, ma!

  • It good to ask question when writing an article to get more information.

    • Orazulume udochukwu victoria

      Thank you ma! For another detailed guideline in writing an article.
      With your guidance I believe I will become as good as you are in writing
      You take your time in nuturing students
      What a selfless act !!… thank you ma

  • Akpan Sarah Precious

    Thank you very much ma for this nice write-up, with this, anyone can easily start up an article. I will surely follow these guidelines while writing an article

  • Maureen

    I’m happy I came across this post honestly, because I have always wanted to write an article but the thought that it may not be approved and the feeling that I may not do well discourages me. But with this, I’ve known what to look out for and
    the steps to take so I’m starting to practice right away. Thank you ma!!

  • Ado-Okoye Stanley Chidera

    I’m surely going to put each ways to practice while writing an article, I’m sure it’ll turn out great. Thanks ma.

  • Nwoke uchenna

    Getting the readers involved, seems that was lacking in my articles.hope to put this to my work.thank you ma.

  • Eze Goodness mmesoma

    This article is really helpful especially to me .I love your write up ma well done keep it up God bless you

  • Njom Kosisochukwu Irene

    Well detailed ma!…This is a very nice write-up. With these, I can complete my article..Thank you ma.

  • Adimorah Perpetual

    Interesting! The tips are really helpful ma,will put it in mind while writing an article.

  • Uchechukwu Chikezie

    This is an eye opener and knowledge impact post. Honestly following this seven ways i will be able to write a good article.

  • Jemimah Okwute

    This point you gave are very important, especially the involvement of stories. I just love reading stories related to the piece of work, they is that clear view you get and it will make you read more.

  • Ezema Johnmartins Kelechi

    Starting with a question or a short story is particularly for me. Actually, this goes a long way to answer the question I asked earlier. Thanks ma’am for the enlightenment

  • Nwugwu Jennifer Somtochukwu

    Thanks ma, I find this post very helpful, especially the third point.

  • This is a major writing technique to start, all you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know. Write what should not be forgotten.

  • Ugwu Somtochukwu

    After reading this, trust me Ma, I’m no longer scared of beginning an article. Thank you Ma. You’re a blessing to every young and aspiring writer here.

  • This is interesting, the seven tips given is helpful. Now I can start writing my article

  • Richards Orighomisan Mercy

    “Starting a piece with a story” oh woowww???Thank you for strengthening my convictions ma

  • OGBONNA THANKGOD OBIECHINA

    GLORY! This post came at the right moment! i almost quit writing on my Facebook wall because of my inability to start up a post…. thanl you sooo much ma!

  • Oh yeah! That’s interesting , cause I hardly write any motivational books or words, novels without any idiom in it . Proverbs, idioms and maxims make a story enticing, it’s just like adding ingredients that will make a food delicious and tasty .

  • Nnaji Esther uchechukwu

    With this seven ways of writing I think I can start to actualize my dream. Initially didn’t understand but I decided to follow the ways and the piece of work according to my mentor it was awesome. So to me particularly I am grateful for this teaching
    More grace ma’am

  • Williams Blessing Ngozi

    Thanks ma, This is really awesome and motivational. With this tips my fears have been allayed and I know that my writing and that of every young inspiring writers will definitely improve to its best.

  • Makwe Covenant Nkiruka

    Want to capture my curiosity and interest? Tell a story. Nothing thrills me and captures my attention and focus,than story. I love,love,love,love stories. And I’m so much obsessed with it. Now, think about what a writer,who starts off his write-up,with a story…Towing the line of storytelling at the initial part of your story,is a big turn up for me. Thank you,Ma.

  • Onoh Chinenye

    Another splendid post from a splendid author, rich in lessons as well.
    I have always had problems with writing articles and I’ve always found them tasking but with these points of yours, I think I’ve found the courage to finally get to writing one and writing it well. Thank you.

  • Iwuchukwu Vivian Chinagolum

    Thank you ma for this helpful tips.

  • Chinenye Enwerem

    The 7 tips are really helpful.

  • David Nneka

    The seven point you listed are very helpful. I would definitely not get stuck even before I start to write, because of the seven points, thanks

  • Emilia Edwin

    Thanks ma for helping we the upcoming writer like me. May your ocean of wisdom never run dry..
    ..amen

  • Chisom Efobi

    This writing throws light in ways to write perfectly thank you so much for this

    I indeed have work to do!!!

  • These are seven great tips of being able to connect with your readers!!!

  • UTAZI PATIENCE

    You are not only good in teaching but also in encouraging young one’s on how to write well. Thank you ma for your good work.

  • Peter Chinecherem Nathaniel

    This really speaks to me ma. On many occasions, I will envisage great ideas in my head, it will sound so perfect in my head, but when I pick up a pen and paper to put it to writing, I get stuck, but with these guidelines enlisted here, I will definitely give it a try…

  • Amalu precious

    Personally, I’ve been sceptical on how to go about my articles. But coming across this guidelines has really given me a head start ?. Thank you ma’am for this great piece and the zeal to keep we communicators in line♥️

  • Ugwu Bridget

    I have always wanted to start writing but didn’t know how but these tips ,I can do something. Thanks ma.

  • Odey-Oko Victor

    I will try to put this tips in consideration when writing an article. Thanks for sharing.

  • UFOH CHIDIEBERE STEPHANIE

    These few points are like eye openers. I would definitely not get stuck in-between my write-ups . Thank you mah.

  • Iyorakpo Dorathy

    Indeed these a great ways to start an article. I learnt alot ma, thankyou

  • Chukwukanne chinecherm winner

    Nice one ma,thank for this write up, it really educative and it will go a long way in educating us the upcoming writers.

  • Nwikwu chidera judith

    Nice write-up. I find this very useful because I do write articles and I believe these tips will help me to be better.

  • Igboka chidimma

    What a relief. Before I find it hard to start or write an article,but with this I think, no not just think I know that I’m good to go.

  • Ekenworah Chidinma

    When I head the word “Article” I thought that is only meant for graduates, degree holders, I never knew that an undergraduate can possibly write one, thank you so much for opening my eyes and thank you for the tips also may God keep giving you knowledge. At least I can write a good article with thsu seven points

  • Onyebuagu Onyinye Eleanor

    The tips are well detailed with examples to drive home the point. Thank you Ma’am

  • The seven keys listed , if probally used will make ones write up or article unqiue.thanks Ma I would love to be like u (Academically) by his grace

  • The seven keys listed , if probally used will make ones write up or article unqiue.thanks Ma I would love to be like u (Academically) by his grace amen

  • Nweze Somto Maryann

    Starting my writing is a really the hard part for me but with this helpful tips I know my writing will definitely improve. Thanks ma.

  • Omeje Chinenye Martha.

    Following this 7 ways will help save the time of an article writer.

  • Nwafor Cynthia Chinenyenwa

    Stories are great when used as illustrations especially when the writer skillfully connects the story with the message. The story magnets the attention of the reader and intrigues them to follow up with the remaining message

  • Agbedo ebubechukwu

    This would be of great help to me… I just began. Thanks for the enlightenment ma.

  • Uwadiegwu Mercy Amarachi

    This your write up is very helpful, I believe that whenever I put this into practice, it will help me become a good writer by tomorrow. When we apply all this seven point while writing an article, it will capture the readers attention , it will also push them to continue reading the article.

  • Okoli Ifunanya

    Asking questions is one of the most helpful points to me. It will help me build up not just the beginning but also the body of the article. Thank you for this ma.

  • Enemuwe John Paul

    The 7th point caught my attention ma’am.
    It was actually speaking to me directly besides the fact that it’s a point you were making in relation to your blog. Using Direct address usually keeps the readers on their toes as they try to picture themselves in the write up.

  • Thanks a lot ma’am, this tips were helpful

  • Nweze Somto Maryann

    Thanks ma for this tips, it’s really motivational and helpful.

  • Chukwukanne chinecherem winner

    Thank you ma for this write-up it’s really educative and it will go a long way in helping us th young writers

  • Ben-Egbe Nneoma Andrea

    Asking questions to provoke curiosity is so true and helps always. These tips and guidelines will definitely help us upcoming writers to do better.

  • Eke Tobechukwu

    Very helpful tip ma.
    But when thought provoking questions are not asked when starting an article does it always lead to loss of interest from the reader?

  • Mercy Nnenna Otisi

    This post provides helpful tips on effective ways in which a young writer can start an article. This is particularly helpful to first year mass communication students. Thank you ma.

  • Ojobo somtochukwu praise

    Telling a story to begin an article is actually a great idea especially when the story will help the audience understand the article properly. Short stories are catchy and easy to comprehend.

  • Ma this is an eye opening write up.
    It is really educative and enlightening.
    With this guidelines, I can start writing my own articles. Thank you for this beautifully written work.

  • Emeka Nnaji

    With these points one is good to go.
    The seventh point would make the writer look confident.

  • Ama Mitchelle Chisom

    Do not overlook the simplest things while writing!
    Elaborate on main or central ideas to start a piece.

  • Idoko Charles Edicha

    It seems like these guidelines were perfectly designed for me, because I need it most.

  • Christabel

    This post is so helpful and do detailed in every way especially number 1, I fine it important for any new beginner in article writing

  • Ugwuanyi Charity Ugochukwu

    I believe that when these tips are applied to your writings, it will attract more readers

  • You can actually pass the message completely through a brief catchy story.
    A short story paints the picture of the message in the minds of the audience.

  • Azoribe Blessing Amarachi

    using point 3 is much fun as you are able to create a scene in the readers mind.

  • Akobi Chisom Emmanuel

    Thank you very much ma!
    You’ve given us choices to choose from while battling with how to start an Article. I’ve been making use of № 1, in order to write sometimes I’d make use of the Inverted Pyramid writing my main point first before narrowing down even to the minor details in it.
    You’ve been a great help to us and I really appreciate your effort ma.
    I can also tell a story that I want to use as an illustration of my message then connect it to my Central idea.

  • Oluchi Abonyi

    This are great tips for my upcoming Gsp 101 exams which could turn out to be an article as we were informed. Thank you ma for this, it came timely to me.

  • Iheme Akunna

    Thanks for your helpful tips and experiences in writing. Idi uko

  • Thai is very helpful when one wants to write an article. If on follows all the step judiciously ,he will be able to write a nice and interesting piece

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