Just as description of characters or of scene and setting is one method of beginning short stories and novels, so also it constitutes a form of introduction for an article. In both cases the aim is to create immediate interest by vivid portrayal of definite persons and places. The concrete word picture, like the concrete instance in a narrative beginning, makes a quick and strong appeal. An element of suspense or mystery may be introduced into the description, if a person, a place, or an object is described without being identified by name until the end of the portrayal.
The possibilities of description are not limited to sights alone; sounds, odors and other sense impressions, as well as emotions, may be described. Frequently several different impressions are combined. To stir the reader's feelings by a strong emotional description is obviously a good method of beginning.
A descriptive beginning, to be clear to the rapid reader, should be suggestive rather than detailed. The average person can easily visualize a picture that is sketched in a few suggestive words, whereas he is likely to be confused by a mass of details. Picture-making words and those imitative of sounds, as well as figures of speech, may be used to advantage in descriptive beginnings. For the description of feelings, words with a rich emotional connotation are important.
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