Concrete leads are the price of entry for feature articles
I was training a group of magazine writers recently, when one brave soul, Marty, shared this lead:
As someone who’s built build models in some exotic places, I know it’s easier when you have a special modeling studio.
“Hmmm …,” I said, “Exotic places, huh? Where are some of the most exotic places you’ve built models?”
“On a battleship during a storm,” Marty answered. “In a tent in Saudi Arabia. Under my blanket as a kid when I was supposed to be doing my homework.”
“Marty,” I said, “that’s your lead.”
Perhaps nothing is harder about writing a feature-style story than showing in the lead and telling in the nut graph. Illustrate, then explain. Most writers do the reverse.
Avoid Yup leads
But if the price of entry to a feature story is a concrete lead, then abstract leads won’t do the job. Avoid dry, boring, abstract leads like:
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