Introductory paragraphs can be like a fishing trip: full of information, but if you pack the wrong hooks and lures, the rest of the trip will be a disaster.
Jeff Bullas recently outlined three of many literary devices to enhance the enticement and engagement levels of your first paragraph. Give it a read.
My thoughts are:
Questions. I’ve found asking a question to be among the most intriguing openings. By posing a question right away, you drive readers to thinking, you challenge them to come up with an answer, an answer that lies beneath the waves of paragraphs to come.
State Facts. On the other hand, years of writing experience have led me to accept statistics and percentages as the most difficult hook, because if done improperly you turn off readers and they swim away. Bullas dresses this up by suggesting you attribute the facts to a person, thus making the numbers come alive.
Quotable Quote. I’ve used these in a number of my previous blogs. Find something catchy that relates to your topic to set the mood, while at the same time “giving away” the sense of what story you are about to tell.
Metaphor. This is an additional option I would suggest; in fact I employed it to kick off this blog. It also sets the reader off into a thinking mode, anxious to read on.
And that is the goal of the first paragraph, isn’t it?