How to Write an Anecdotal Lead

An anecdote lead is one of about six standard journalism leads that can draw your reader into your story. Leads are not easy to write. They need to be wrestled to the ground. So choose your anecdote well, and you will be rewarded by the satisfaction of a job well done and increased readership to boot.

Choose an anecdote that is simple, relevant and has intrinsic value. Tell an anecdote that represents the larger story of your feature. This lead is a slice of the feelings, results and specifics of the bigger story you are writing.

Be organized. Have in your head or on paper exactly what your feature is going to be about. If you think the right journalism lead for your feature is the anecdote then start working around your main theme with your anecdote.

Intrigue your reader. Tell a fascinating and stirring story that will draw the reader in and make her want to read the whole feature.

Make sure the anecdote is relevant by choosing a story that directly relates in some way to your bigger story. The anecdote lead needs to have a purpose and needs to enhance the story.

Choose an anecdote lead that has intrinsic worth by choosing one that can stand alone and still be interesting. It's a solitary mini-story within the larger context of the feature.

Select the anecdote that strikes the right chord for the feature. Features are meant to inspire, make us sad, happy, to create emotion; so consider this when choosing your mini-story. It may take time and work to get the lead and all the components right. But a well-done feature with a well-done lead will sing like a songbird and be worth the effort.

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