|Strong leads capture reader interest|
To get us back in the grove, a good nonfiction lead must include the five Ws and an H: who, what, where, when, why and how. And usually, when it comes to leads, shorter is better. This approach to writing a first paragraph — or creating or recreating an entire story — works for fiction, too.
Last time, we began with the lead, and used this object lesson:
Select a nonfiction story you've written — one you like and have written recently — and edit the lead to conform to the journalistic style. If you're looking for ideas for new stories, scan your local newspaper (print sometimes works better), select a story that grabs you and follow the same steps.
To that exercise, let's add this to address the "who" of the story:
Revise the lead paragraph(s) to the each main character by name, and the other primary characters by allusion. Introducing too many characters at once can muddy a piece, but hinting at what's to come whets the reader's appetite.
Tip: The advantage of this approach is that it offers the best of both worlds — the unbounded quality of fiction and the grounded quality of nonfiction.
For more on opening paragraphs, see this from Writer's Digest: "10 Ways to Start Your Story Better."