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Writing Ledes

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by KevinmH9, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. KevinmH9

    KevinmH9 Active Member

    I think the worst possible problem I have is writting ledes. This topic spurs from my difficulty of thinking of a decent lede for an article I have to write for the paper. At Plymouth State University, our men and women's basketball teams have started out well thus far. The men (2-1) and the women (3-0) have showed promise and I figured a lede along the lines of: "While students dreamt of their Thanksgiving feasts, the mens and women's basketball teams feasted upon their opponents faced in their recent [insert tournament names] tournaments" so on and so forth. Trying to think of something that isn't a cliche ha.

    What technique do you all use for writing ledes? I am horrible! Ha!
  2. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    In what order do you write? Ha!
  3. Mira

    Mira Member

    Did either of the coaches or any of the players give you a good quote? In a couple stories I've written of late (college hoops), I've worked a gem of a quote into my lede.
  4. I posted this on the writers' workshop board a while ago. And assuming your college paper isn't a daily, it might not work as well, but it's still worth a shot.

    The only advice I've ever needed about writing ledes came from my first editor when I was 17 years old. He always said: "What's the first thing you'd tell me about the game when you got back to the office."

    Ninety percent of the time, that's the best idea to begin your story with. Just stay away from cliches, pop culture references - and in my belief - quotes in ledes. I'm just not a big fan as quotes as, or in, ledes.
  5. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    My ledes are long, and they're often chopped down by the desk. It's an area I need to improve upon.
  6. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Sorry but that's cliched.

    If you're having trouble coming up with something, go straight-forward. "While the rest of the student body was scattered around the country on Thanksgiving break, the Plymouth State University men's and women's basketball teams continued their impressive early season runs by winning tournaments in [STATE HERE] and [STATE HERE]."

    If you have to try too hard to come up with something "catchy," it's not going to work. Trust me: People have riffed on holidays in ledes since the dawn of time. They no longer work.
  7. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    I may have used ledes like that long ago. Best to not go there again, you or me.

    One of the things a former colleague taught me back in LBC, is start thinking of your lede the second you get in your car. Think of nothing but your lede and ensuing 2-3 graphs till you get back to the office. If you have a few days to write your story, don't procrastinate. Get the lede and theme on paper (or in the system).
  8. txscoop

    txscoop Member

    I hate Holiday ledes. Way too cliche. Way too corny.
    I always like to go with my ledes stemmed from a good quote.
  9. Stone Cane

    Stone Cane Member

    short and snappy
  10. soccer10k

    soccer10k Member

    I'm pretty hit or miss with my ledes. Some day's I'll come up with a really good one and then other days I'll read the paper the next day and think "Why the hell did I write that?" And then I'll think of a much better way to start the story but, of course, it's a few hours too late at that point.
  11. Mayfly

    Mayfly Active Member

    I enjoy writing ledes and as Xan said, start writing them when you are in your car, or as soon as you see something happen that is lede worthy. On my drive home from a preps game, I am constantly thinking of how I want to begin the story, and finally it snaps in my mind.
  12. Mira

    Mira Member

    I'm the same way, Mayfly. I'm thinking about it as I'm driving back to the office. Or if I'm not on a tight deadline, I'll transcribe, eat some dinner and think about the lede a bit.
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