On our first page we make a contract with readers. We’re saying, "If you’ll invest your time in reading me, I’ll make it worth your while."
Whatever we promise in the beginning sentence we need to deliver. In my article on health that began with the question, "How long do you choose to live?" I offered 1,200 words on how to make better choices that affect our health and longevity.
The first sentence also shows the tone or style of the material—the voice we’ll use throughout the article or chapter. If it’s humor or a light touch, we need to make it obvious and stay with that tone. If we want to write with a more somber tenor, we need to start that way.
Here are four made-up beginnings that express different styles. Which voice is closest to yours?
• Eight years, 49 diets, and 900 pounds ago I decided to get serious about my weight.
• What should we, as Christians, know about the Bible? What information do we consider essential to make us well-read and informed believers?
• Prayer is either a problem or a source of power. We can view it with doubt or with quietness.
• Who is the addict? I observed behavior patterns of three individuals, all productive, who work in my office. I'll explain their behavior and you decide who is the addict.
I choose the tone I want;
I show the same voice throughout the writing.