Friday, February 13, 2009

The posies of language

I’m a huge fan of flowery language.  When I read something, I find it quite enjoyable when the words play with my imagination and images immediately fill my mind and draw me in to read more.  Features leads do just that. There are a few differences between feature leads and summary leads from chapter six worth mentioning. 

Summary leads are short, concise and to the point.  They consist of the 5 W's and H to be as specific as possible. It is also wise to avoid backing in (placing an introductory clause before a subject) because readers don't like someone who rambles on and on and sounds like the teacher from Charlie Brown. Also, keep it 30 words or less and always in active voice to grab the reader's attention.

We can take these same principles and tweak them to suit feature leads through a variety of lead forms. Anecdotes are short stories, often with a surprise ending that grabs the reader’s attention.  Narratives go a step further by presenting the story along with dialogue, quotes, or setting up scenes.  Next, descriptive leads “focus on a specific place, person or group of people”(Lieb).  Question leads are simply that: they pose a question.  There are many other feature leads that do not fit these categories and belong to “other,” but could be perfect as attention grabbers.

Two examples of feature leads from The New York Times:

For Dinner (and Fast), the Taste of Home By: Leslie Kaufman

Undoing the Cover-Up By: Mimi Zeiger 

1 comment:

jatwater said...

I like your lead examples.