The lead in the story is what we often call the hook, that part of the writing that is clearly intended to grab the attention of the reader. No surprise, it is also called the lead because it comes at the beginning of a short story, novel, essay, or journalism story. A good lead is crucial for your story because it is the first, and perhaps only, opportunity the writer has to grab the reader’s interest in continuing to read. After a basic reintroduction of leads and why they are important enough that both my first college journalism class and opening creative writing class discussed their importance on day 1, you are diving into your first story.
Whether you learned about leads in second grade when you wrote that story about the weird kid at last year’s Halloween party who, on a dare, ate the candy corn off the roof of the candy house your teacher had displayed every year since your mom had her as a teacher and then barfed all over your lunchbox…or you when you moved to a new school in 8th grade and then you learned about leads for the first time. Big sigh! It doesn’t matter. It is a really important part of the writing process and we are going to take a really quick review of leads.