Magazine Writing: The Lead

Tuesday’s Writing Tips 

Portable MFA in Creative Writing: Magazine Writing

The Lead: 

This is the most important part of the article. It must immediately engage the reader’s interest. It focuses the piece, acting as a guidepost or a road map as to where the story is going. The best leads draw a picture and actively engage the reader’s mind. Once the reader is hooked, then you have them for the rest of the story.

Many writer’s spend a good part of their time coming up with the appropriate lead. Once you’ve come up with the proper lead, the rest of the story comes more easily.

The lead can vary in length. It can be one sentence or one page. The articles that I write are often well below 1000 words. Most of my leads are about three to four sentences.

The lead does several things:

  • It sets the tone for the article.
  • It focuses the reader’s attention on what she is going to read about.
  • It gives the reader the author’s point of view.
  • It brings the reader into the “world” of the article.

Next week: 

We’ll visit the nut graph. This is what let’s the readers know exactly what the article is about. It reveals the focus.

I highly recommend The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. It’s on Amazon for under $13 right now. This book discusses Fiction, Memoir/Personal Essay, Poetry and Magazine Articles. The information I have been providing for the past several months has been from this book.

Today, I leave you with this brilliant quote…

Dr Suess Quotes and a haiku

Today’s Haiku

his wisdom profound
so everyone gather ’round
and listen right now


Does anyone have a magazine article coming out soon? Can you offer any tips?

Have a little fun today!



2 thoughts on “Magazine Writing: The Lead

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