Your lead needs to grab people by the collar or get them asking questions, said Ann Wylie at a recent workshop sponsored by PRSA Puget Sound.
There are three good types of leads, according to Wylie:
- Concrete: Engage one of the five senses or offer a startling statistic.
- Creative: Use words that involve suspense or conflict. Talk about something weird, unusual or surprising. Or be descriptive, paint a picture with your words.
- Provocative: Give concrete information that will provoke your readers to ask the question.
Some leads to try: human interest, wordplay, prescription, metaphor, anecdote, juicy details or startling statistics.
Some leads to avoid: abstraction, background, throw-away, question that’s broad or abstract, quotation, pack of facts or announcement. Those tend to be boring. They may be appropriate elsewhere in your story, but not in the first sentence.