Thirty years ago, I began my career as a nonfiction writer. The first time I pitched the story to the weekend features editor of a local newspaper, I realized that although I’d done a ton of academic writing at that point, had written lots of unpublished essays and had a passion for writing that went back to my pre-teen years, I didn’t know that much about the fine points of magazine writing.
My background was in health science, so what did I know about writing magazine articles?
What I had was a passion for writing, a knowledge base in the content area I had proposed, a willingness to learn, lots of research experience. The first thing I had to learn was how to write a solid lead. Three decades later and that knowledge has had a chance to be practised over and over, and now I’m sharing my five favourite approaches to a lead―a bit of help for nonfiction authors, magazine writers, bloggers and copywriters.
As I reviewed these tips for leads, it also occurred to me that fiction writers might find inspiration here for opening paragraphs for short stories or even book chapters. I’m a great believer in cross-genre learning.
Here’s today’s episode of WRITE. FIX. REPEAT. with the five approaches to leads.