The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

The courage to lede

I’m at a writer’s conference today, which means I’m part coach and part student — which, come to think of it, is pretty much what this blog is about, too. This morning, I sat through an hour on how to write a good lede (pace Jake Tapper, this is the more fun spelling).

One of the presenters shared some terrific ledes, and I thought I’d share four of the best:

1).  ”Snow, followed by small boys on sleds.” (a weather forecast) – Allen Smith, New York World‑Telegram (This one has the benefit of also being timely.)

2). “In our family there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing.” – Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It

3. “The million-to-one shot came in. Hell froze over. A month of Sundays hit the calendar. Don Larsen today pitched a no-hit, no-run, no-man-reach-first game in a World Series.” – Shirley Povich

4. “In a grimy gray drizzle, under ragged black flags that lifted and waved balefully in the fitful air; to the wail of a single piper, on streets winding through charred and blasted brick spray-painted with slogans of hate; by silent tens of thousands, past fathers holding sons face-forward that they might remember the day, past mothers rocking and shielding prams that held tomorrow’s fighters, past old men who blew their rheumy noses and remembered their own days of rage … Bobby Sands was carried yesterday to a grave of raw Ulster mud.” – Richard Ben Cramer (My take: you’d never get away with such a long lede today.)

… I can’t top any of these, but it won’t stop me from trying. So expect some good opening sentences coming your way. No word yet as to how to end one of these essays, so I’ll just say, stay tuned…