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Writing the Perfect Lead

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by

Dana Saville

on 9 October 2017

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Transcript of Writing the Perfect Lead

Writing the Perfect Lead
Good Beginnings
The best beginnings and endings don't just happen. They are deliberate and sometimes painful to construct, but well worth the effort. Start with a lackluster/boring beginning, and it will not matter how strong the rest of your story is because the reader will never give you the chance to get there. Here are some ideas for how to start your paper with pizazz.
Shocking/Controversial Statement
I hate babies! I know hate is a strong word, but I assure you it's more than hyperbole. I hate crying babies in Walmart, that is for sure. To be fair, it's not the babies that I hate; it's the parents that don't tend to their needs or can't appease a toddler who is demanding a treat or toy.

Dialogue
"I'm not sure I even like you."
"I'm not particularly crazy about you, either, now that I think about it."
"Fine. So, how in the world did we end up on our first date ever, in the back seat of this stretch limo, on our way to the Prom?"
"I think it's Shannon's fault. She told me in Chemistry class that you secretly liked me and wanted me to ask you out."
"Shannon is an unreliable narrator."

Rhetorical Question
How bad could it be? This is what I thought as I stared packing up our belongings and moving to Minnesota. How could I have known just how much "stuff" we had accumulated over the years or how much our lives would change.
Action
I threw on my bunny slippers as fast as I could and nearly catapulted myself from the top stair to the bottom I was so excited. Christmas--my favorite holiday!
Onomatopoeia
Thud. That's what 200 pounds of sweaty, man flesh sounds like when it hits a wooden gym floor. No one laughs, but I think some fans want to because Brett is a pompous ass-- on and off the court. Even people who don't know him, don't like him.
Character/Setting Snapshot
I stared at the empty, out-dated recliner and imagined how he used to get so worked up watching the Vikings that he couldn't stay reclined--his body rigid, alert, and upright. The blue carpet seemed worn and flattened from the times he sat on the floor and laid his head into my mother's lap or draped his elbow and arm across her leg. This is how I remember him, how I remember the room...but it is all just a memory now.

Notice this is not a yes/no question like, "Have you ever wondered..." What if the answer is no? The reader will not read on and you are dead in the water.
Other Hooks
Definitions: Define the subject, but avoid the overly used "According to Webster's Dictionary..."
Make an unexpected or compelling comparison
A relevant or engaging anecdote (story or tale)
Full transcript