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The Opening Paragraph: Narrow Your Article Slant Right at the Top

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word For Writers

The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. (John 1:4, NLT

A Word For Writers

The Opening Paragraph: a #devotional based on John 1:4 with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingTips #WritingArticles #Blogging

Your writing project has its best chance for success when you write an opening paragraph that zeros in on your topic slant. 

Notice I didn’t say opening paragraphs (plural). I said opening paragraph (singular). As in one paragraph – the first.

Your article, blog post, or book chapter is engaging or memorable when it takes a unique slant on a bigger topic. That slant starts in the first paragraph. You have the rest of your article or blog post or other book chapters to explain and support your point. But your opening paragraph needs to reveal your topic AND your angle on the topic.

Let’s say your topic is growing pansies. That’s a big topic that includes pansy varieties … other flowers to grow with pansies … the best climate for growing pansies … pansy seedling suppliers …

Your opening paragraph needs to narrow down your slant to growing pansies in containers. This way the reader knows right from your first sentences what to expect in your article, post, or book chapter.

The Apostle John gives us an excellent opening paragraph model to follow in his gospel. He narrows his slant right out the gate: he’s writing about the life-giving Word, Jesus. 

Other books of the Bible focus on different slants on Jesus and his character. For instance, the book of Matthew explains that Jesus is the Hebrews’ long-awaited Messiah. The Letter to the Colossians offers evidence that Jesus is divine. 

John uses his gospel to prove his point: the Word – Jesus – is the only way to eternal life.  His opening paragraph narrows the slant. 

Use your opening paragraph to narrow your topic slant.

A Wise Word

Narrow your article slant in your opening paragraph.

A Word To Pray

Loving Father,

Thank you for using different authors to write about topics in different slants. Show me how to do the same. Let me narrow my content focus and present it in my opening paragraph so readers know what to expect in the rest of the article, book, or content.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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