Hey idiot, I've got toothache. BOO!

Horse walks into bar, barkeep says 'Why the long face?' Now laugh or I might poke you in the eye, my pretty little kitten.

What's all this about then? Kathy Sierra says you should begin your talk/book/blog entry in the following ways:

  • Be provocative
  • Evoke empathy
  • Do something surprising... VERY surprising
  • Start with something funny
  • Promise there will be conflict
  • Start with a dramatic key event or turning point
  • Mystery, suspense, intrigue
  • Deliver an emotional experience

Just checking if doing all of those things at once is extra effective. ;-)


Kathy goes on to suggest you needn't begin in these common ways:

  • Don't start at the beginning!
  • Don't Tell (when you could be showing)
  • DO NOT start with history!
  • DO NOT start with pre-reqs
  • and you don't need to establish your credibility up front

All great points. I think you have to know also, that when you're writing something, or planning something -- don't worry about the introduction at first.

You can do that bit last. Failure to realise this is a common cause of writer's block. People sit there (myself included) worrying over the first few words, before anything else has been done. Forget it, just move further in, and come back to that bit.

You can start with a bad version that breaks all the rules, and then edit it in to shape later. Editing is the most important skill in writing. If you're a good enough editor you can edit just about any old crap into shape, provided there's some crap there to begin with.

Okay, enough preaching. Just blog it.


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(By the way, I read every comment and often respond.)

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