Where do I begin?

One of writing’s most-discussed topics is “How should I begin my essay (or e-mail, letter, etc.)?”

When the subject arises, an oft-quoted phrase is the opening sentence of the famous writer Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s novel Paul Clifford: “It was a dark and stormy night.” I personally love that line, and I’ll tell you why:

I’m a “mood” person. I think it’s important to first set the mood of any essay. Other options are to begin with a question, or a quote, or maybe dialog.

Think of how many movies start by creating a “mood.” The camera first offers a distant view of a farm house on a snowy day, then zooms in for a close-up of a window, then moves into the living room for the first view of the main characters.

Consider how many ways a “mood” style first sentence might help you begin what you want to say.

Rix Quinn’s new e-book is called “How to Sell Ideas with the Minute Message.” https://www.kobo.com/ww/en/ebook/how-to-sell-ideas-with-the-minute-message?utm_campaign=shopping_feed_se_en&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc

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Rix Quinn

Rix Quinn is a former magazine editor and now a syndicated columnist for over 100 weekly newspapers. He holds degrees from Texas Christian University and California State University.

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