Writing Your Lead

August 1, 2010

Use Allusions. Picture an ad lib of a well known speech or quotation: MLK’s “I have a Dream Speech, Abe Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address or even a well known song. Now give your own twist by making it relevant to your story.

WWEDD: What would Emily Dickinson Do? The key to Emily Dickinson’s success was her ability to draw metaphors and similes to describe the world arround her. Similarly, compare and contrast your story to other situations that your reader can identify with and recognize. Maybe you could draw the parrallel between the behavior of the incoming freshmen class and their fear of the seniors to the Greek laborynth and the fear of the the minotaur or contrast a teacher’s spat of anger to a bubble gum balloon waiting to burst. Be creative, playful and clever.

“Set the Mood” You are the narrator to someonelse’s story so paint the scene. Describe a location, what happneed before, or a character. Make sure to keep tone in mind!

Question Marks, Exclamation Marks, & Quotations: Some of the most common ways of writing eads starts off with these three grammatical punctuations. Introduce your subjects with a rhetorical question, an interjection, a shocking statistic or a quote.

Learn from the Movies. Approach a lead for your article as if you’re developing a trailer to your own movie.  What makes your story hilarious, shocking and suspensful? Describe them in a short paragraph or blurb. Experiencing writer’s block? Watch the trailers to your favorite movies. Pay attention to how the trailers begin whether it be a scene or quote or question and how, as whole, the trailer paints the story of the characters in the movie. Here are trailers from movies in theaters now: Inception, Eat Pray Love, and Dispicable Me.


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