Non-Fiction: How To Write Effective Beginnings And Endings I Oxford Open Learning


    Non-Fiction: How To Write Effective Beginnings And Endings

    Non-fiction may not involve fictional characters or imaginary worlds, but it still requires skillful storytelling techniques to engage and captivate readers. Here’s how you can create compelling openings that hook readers and powerful conclusions that reinforce your ideas.

    Start Strong

    • Start with a compelling anecdote: Begin your non-fiction piece with a short, relatable, and relevant anecdote that captures readers’ attention. This personal touch will make them curious and emotionally invested in your work. Now, I appreciate this isn’t always applicable depending on the formality or the type of writing you’re doing. If you can’t reference yourself, see if there’s a relevant true story to reference instead.
    • Open with a question: Start with a thought-provoking question that relates to your topic. This encourages readers to ponder the subject matter and creates a sense of curiosity that drives them to explore your piece further.
    • Surprise them with facts and statistics: Begin with an intriguing fact or statistic that is relevant to your topic. This immediately captures attention and emphasises the significance of the subject, compelling readers to continue reading.
    • Quotes are quality: Begin with a powerful quote from a notable individual or an expert in the field. Not only will this add credibility to your writing and create an engaging entry point for readers but—if you’ve picked the right quote—will stay memorable throughout their reading of your piece.

    Go Out With A Bang, Not A Whimper

    • TL;DR: In your conclusion, provide a concise summary of the main ideas or arguments presented in your non-fiction piece. Reinforce your message and ensure that readers grasp the core concepts you’ve discussed.
    • Sound the call: Encourage readers to take action based on the information you’ve presented. This call to action could involve suggesting further research, proposing practical steps, or inspiring them to make a positive change related to your topic.
    • Again, quotes are quality: why not come full circle and end the way you began? Quotes are so effective they are worth using at both ends of your writing. Conclude your non-fiction piece with a meaningful quote that encapsulates the essence of your message. This leaves readers with a lasting impression and reinforces the importance of your topic.
    • A teachable moment: Leave readers with a valuable takeaway or lesson they can apply to their lives or further explore the subject matter. This helps them connect personally with your writing and reinforces the impact of your work.
    • Again, leave the door open: Leave readers with open-ended questions that encourage further reflection and exploration of the topic. This can foster critical thinking and engage readers in a deeper conversation beyond your writing.

    Crafting Effective Beginnings And Endings In Non-fiction Writing

    This is crucial for capturing readers’ attention and delivering your message. Memorable quotes and calls to action are surefire ways to get your point across. And ending on a question is always a great way to get your readers thinking after they’ve finished reading.


    If you want to read about how to work on beginnings and endings when writing fiction, I have also written an article on this, which you can read by clicking on the link here.

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