"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking for a lead sentence

Looking for a lead for the new year...who knows, but as I consider an article for Oklahoma Publisher in a few days, Looking for great leads...I can think of five off the top of my head.

Number one--newswriting primer, put the most important thing first, use strong noun and action verb. Put time first only if it's the news-- "In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth (also answered WWWW ). Spent the rest of the book answering why and how.

Others:

  •  "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...." Talk about a great hook.
  • "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."--summary lead at its best, for last year's wrap up.
  • "When lilacs last int he dooryard bloomed, and the great star drooped...." same structure as number one, but more poetic.
  • "Dead. That's what (name) was...." James Thurber. Go for the drama.
  • "The last camel died at noon." Ken Follett. 
My question is always, "Would you keep reading?" which may also be why I'm so addicted to good headlines.

I know there are more. Give me your other suggestions. 

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