Would this lead-in grab your attention?
“The Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference was held two weeks ago with four hundred people in attendance. Classes and workshops were held every day, and writers from across the country came.”
Maybe you would keep reading if you had attended the conference or if you were interested in learning about it. But this factual lead-in doesn’t give any insight into the joy-stirring experience that is BRMCWC. Would the following lead-in capture your interest even more?
“I had anticipated attending the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference all year. As soon as I stepped onto the campus, I felt at home. This was the place God had spoken to me before. This was the place I hoped He would speak to me again.”
What is the main difference between the two lead-ins? I personalized the second one. The first lead-in is about numbers—an incredible number, by the way. But it doesn’t give much oomph about the classes and workshops. It just states that there were many of them, and it shows that this was a national conference. But it doesn’t describe the writers much. The second lead-in is about a person. One person who went to this conference and what she was hoping for.
In his book, 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing, Gary Provost shares that a lead-in should cause the reader to care about what you’re writing. He says that there are two ways to do this: 1) “give the readers information which affects them directly”1 or 2)”give them a human being with whom they can identify.”2
When you write books, articles, or blog posts, remember to start with something the reader will care about. Stories are a great way to present a person with whom the reader can identify, especially stories about the author.When you write a lead-in, give the reader something to care about. Click To Tweet
If I were writing on my blog about BRMCWC, I would know that many writers read my blog, and I would write about the conference from my point of view. I would talk about my expectations, what God did at the conference, and the people I met. I would share a little about what I learned, and then subtly transition into facts about the conference so that the reader would be even more enticed to attend.
Facts aren’t liabilities in our writing, but they need to be presented in a reader-friendly way. In your lead-ins, remember to write about something that your readers will care about—a person they can relate to or information that directly affects them. You will grab not only their attention, but their hearts.
1 Gary Provost, 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing (New York, New York: New American Library, 1972), 33.