Thursday, February 25, 2016


The opening portion of an article, story, chapter, or other type of writing. Its purpose is to catch the reader's attention so they will keep reading. It typically serves as an introduction to the topic or the story, and varies in length from a few sentences to several paragraphs. Writers need to recognize the importance of a good lead. The first reader will be the editor, and if the lead does not capture the editor's interest and attention, you are not likely to sell the piece. When studying publications before submitting to them, one thing you want to check is the kinds of leads that publication typically uses in their articles. For some it might be an anecdotal lead, a quotation, a survey lead, a question, a comparison, or any of several other possibilities.

Often an appropriate lead is difficult to come up with, so in some cases you may need to skip the lead (or start with a weaker lead), write the rest of the piece, and then come back to write or rewrite the lead after you know exactly the path your article or story has taken. In any case, an effective lead typically needs to be written and rewritten until it shines. The exception may be the lead for a news article, which simply needs to include the who, what, where, when, why, and how. For a list of different types of leads, with examples, go to:

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