Writing Leads Adapted from work by Celeste Gledhill
The beginning of a story is called the “lead” of the story. How a story begins is very important. If you don’t say something interesting in your lead, then people won’t want to read the rest of your story.
My Trip to the Mall One day, I went to the mall. I got in the car, and my mom drove me to the mall.
The Day I got Scared One time I was at home and I was eating on the couch. The television was on. I was watching my favorite show.
When I Went to the Beach My mom said, “We are going to the beach today.” And I started to get ready. I put on my shoes and clothes. I went to the car.
A good lead catches the reader’s attention, making them want to read more! A good lead also makes the writer want to write more.
Hello little Mouse. What are you doing?
How does a dinosaur say good night when Papa comes in to turn off the light?
You can also set up the action for the entire story in a few sentences.
None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for Forest. Forest is not a thicket of trees. Forest is a boy. A sick boy. A boy sneezing and coughing all over my desk and pencils. I caught Forest’s cold and had to stay home from school on Tuesday. Tuesday is Vocabulary Day at Webster School. Follow my advice: Never get sick on Vocabulary Day.
STORYTELLER’S NOTE Now I suppose that you have heard about the mighty logger Paul Bunyan and his great blue ox named Babe. In the early days of this country, Paul and Babe cleared the land for the settlers so towns and cities could spring up. And you probably know that Paul was taller than a redwood tree, stronger than fifty grizzly bears, and smarter than a library full of books. But you may not know that Paul was married and had two fine children.
Talking Lead You can start with a line or two of dialogue.
Chapter 1 Before Breakfast “Where’s Papa going with that Axe?” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast. “Out to the hoghouse,” replied Mrs. Arable. “Some pigs were born last night.” “I don’t see why he needs an axe,” continued Fern, who was only eight. “Well, said her mother,” said her mother, “one of the pigs is a runt. It’s very small and weak, and it will never amount to anything. So your father has decided to do away with it.” “Do away with it?” shrieked Fern. “You mean kill it? Just because it’s smaller than the others?”
“My dad sent me a present!” Miguel told everyone at school. I’m going with my grandmother to the train station to pick it up.” “That’s exciting, Miguel” said his teacher. “Do you know what it is?” “Maybe rollerblades. Maybe a baseball glove,” said Miguel.” It’s from my dad, so it’ll be something really good.”
Snapshot Lead You can create a picture of the setting or a character in the reader’s mind.
Rancher Hicks lived out west. As far as the eye could see there was nothing… not even a roaming buffalo. So nothing much ever happened.
When I look through my window, I see a brick wall. There is trash in the courtyard and a broken bottle that looks like fallen stars.
Not so long ago, they say, A mother lived, just like today. Mrs. Peters was her name, Her little boy was named the same. Now Peter was a perfect son In every way—except for one.
Leads are Very Important But, the beginning of your paper might be one of the LAST things you write!
Writing Process: First, brainstorm some ideas Second, take one idea and organize your thoughts about that idea on paper Third, revise what you wrote into a rough draft.
Writing Process: FOURTH, come up with a good title and a good lead. Fifth, revise the whole story again filling in details and making sure everything is organized and makes sense.