Monday, July 6, 2009

Testing your opening

I found an interesting way to test an opening sentence. It easily answers those pressing questions: Does it grab you right off the bat? Do you plunge into the action? Are you drawn in from those first few words?

How does it work?

Simple. Go to a customer service page on any website that has a feedback form. Type your opening paragraph and then hit submit.

Now, if it's like the one I used today, it will send a confirmation email with only the first sentence of your question displayed. You will see it like a reader will see it - out of context, directed to you and vying for your attention. Trust me - you'll see that opening sentence in a whole new light.

Mine could have used a little work.

(Really, you shouldn't bother random customer service centers with your WIP. Although I suppose if they emailed back asking for more, you'd really know you had a winner.)

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