Writing leads is a bitch.
But I just wrote a great one. How do I know? You read the second sentence. And now you’re on the fifth. I’m on a roll. You’re into sentence number seven and I love you for it.
The objective of the first sentence (often called the lead, or lede) is to get you into the second one. Some say the lead is the first paragraph and, as you must have gathered, its goal is to get you to read the paragraph that follows.
Of course, the headline ranks highest, so those that dole out writing advice tend to focus on it. I thought we’d focus on the lead today. When it fails you, your reader takes in only two lines. That’s a form of rejection no writer can live with.