Leads or ledes are devices that writers use to capture the readers’ attention and draw them into an article or story. They are located at the beginning of a piece of text and can take several forms depending on the tone, mood and purpose that the author wants to convey. Leads are very important as they often are the determining factor of whether or not a reader continues reading. Writing a personal narrative requires a well-written leading sentence.
Using a brief anecdote or story is a good way to engage readers. As long as the story is relevant, interesting and brief, using it as a lead can be an effective tool. Although many anecdotes are funny, they can often reveal deeper issues that the writer wants to expound upon further in the article. For example, a short story of how your head hit the desk with a loud thud in class can be a segue into an essay on the importance of engagement in education. In this way, the anecdote lead becomes an integral part of the narrative. But be careful, stories that have no relevance often reduce author credibility.
Although writing a personal narrative is often about personal events, if your narrative includes issues pertaining to the general public, adding relevant statistics in your lead is a good idea. For example, if you are writing a personal narrative on how a family history of alcohol abuse has had a devastating effect on you and your family, then including national alcohol abuse statistics in your lead will engage and interest your audience.
Some of the most interesting and engaging leads use shocking statements to captivate readers. "I hate babies!" is a shocking statement that will make readers read the rest of your essay to find out what type of individual could hate a baby. Of course, your essay could be about the lack of maturity of adult "babies" in the world, but the shocking statement would have served its purpose of engaging your readers.
Using interesting word play in your leading sentence can also engage readers. Using homophones, or words that have a double meaning, can also be interesting. For example, "harnessing your horse allows you to harness its horse power" plays with the usage of the word harness. People find that the clever use of words makes the author more credible as a writer, and using word play can attract people’s interest in what you have to say.
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