Good leads begin stories. Bad leads can finish them. If the first couple of sentences don’t make the reader feel helplessly curious and compelled to continue, your body copy won’t be read. Yearbook leads don’t sum up the entire article like newspaper leads. Instead, they give the reader a tempting taste of what lies ahead without necessarily addressing the main point of the story. They can tease, mislead, startle, amuse – anything that will invoke the reader’s curiosity. Study the following types of leads. Learn to write more creative and effective leads – leads that are real attention-getters.
One of the most useful tools in the yearbook room is the lead notebook. At the beginning of each year, I make a standing assignment of 10 “knock your socks off” leads per week from each writer. They must cut these out of newspapers or magazines and glue them onto a piece of notebook paper. I give the students credit each week for the 10 leads by just glancing at the papers; then I put them in the big red lead notebook that everyone uses. Periodically, I grade them carefully, just to let them know I am serious. And only the sheets with 10 outstanding leads receive an A.