Skip to content

Show or tell?

Starting a piece of writing can be the most difficult bit. The way I see it, there are two possible approaches: start big or start small. A ‘big beginning’ tells the reader something. A big beginning says: ‘The Juan de Fuca fault line could present the greatest geophysical hazard to Western Canada.’ There’s nothing wrong with a big beginning. But sometimes, a small beginning can be effective. A small beginning shows the reader something: a scene, a process, a case study. A small beginning says: ‘Fifty miles from Victoria, British Columbia, the earth is splitting. Steam shoots out of fissures in the sea bed and heats the surrounding seawater to over 400°C.’ A big beginning packs a punch, while having something concrete to visualize helps convey the significance of your ideas.

Heather Dyer
22 November 2018

Related articles

Hook your reader

Always start with a hook to draw in your reader.

Break up long sentences

Always check your writing for over-long sentences and insert a full stop.

Lose that redundant paragraph

Start your essay with a strong opening paragraph.

Back To Top