Writing eTips UpWrite Press - We Make Writing Work For You
May 2007 UpWrite Press - We Make Writing Work For You

The Writing Process: Drafting the Opening
Whether you are writing a major proposal, a white paper, or just a simple letter or memo, you should pay attention to all three parts: the opening, the middle, and the closing. Today we will look at some tips for writing an effective opening.

The opening has several important functions in any piece of writing. It should do the following:

  • Inform Tell the reader the topic and purpose of the writing.
  • Draw attention Create interest and keep the reader reading.
  • Establish tone Let the reader know the nature of the message, whether general or critical.
  • Preview the content In longer pieces, present an overview of the material to be covered.
  • Provide context Give the reader any background needed to understand the information.

In general, your opening should give enough information to allow your reader to get the gist of your topic and prepare him or her to read on for more detailed information.

You can learn more about drafting an opening on page 127 of Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing & Communicating in the Workplace.

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That Little Extra: Choosing the Precise Word
A thesaurus can give your writing a big boost by allowing you to select exact words. But be careful not to overdo it. Make sure the synonyms you select convey your meaning precisely and suit your intended reader. Avoid inflated words that make you sound pompous rather than intelligent. Whatever you write, your best bet is to keep your words precise, professional, and—above all—natural.

Join Our Writers’ Forum
We invite you to be part of our monthly eTips. Each month we pose a question or problem regarding the use of writing in business. Send us your reply along with your name, your company’s name, and a brief description of what you do. We will print the best responses, and you will get your name out to our more than 5,000 subscribers! (We reserve the right to edit your remarks for fit and suitability.)

Note: Email server changes at our office delayed the April eTips and precluded the Mid-Month Mini. Consequently, we’re running last month’s forum question a second time and will post answers in the May Mini.

May Writers’ Forum Topic
What was your best writing experience at work? Did you write a successful grant proposal? Create a company brochure? Receive positive feedback on writing well done? Share your experience and your feelings about it.

Email your response to writersforum@upwritepress.com. Write "May Writers’ Forum" in the subject line, and you could see your reply in the eTips Mid-Month Mini.

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Coming in June:
The Writing Process: Drafting the Middle
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eTips is a publication of UpWrite Press, Inc., P.O. Box 460, Burlington, Wisconsin 53105. Copyright © 2007, UpWrite Press. All rights reserved. Visit www.upwritepress.com.