On How to Write a Lede

I’m bad at ledes. Really bad, probably. That’s why I loved this advice from Grant Wahl on the recent Longform podcast. Wahl stole it from a writer and literary professor at Princeton named John McPhee.

“Write a lede section first. In going back through McPhee’s notes it was interesting because his whole thing was your lede should shine a light through the rest of the story which I thought was a cool turn of phrase.”

I like the way that sounds. It also helps provide purpose to the ledes I writer (which I feel are often purposeless). I don’t know that it will stick in the long run, but I’ve certainly been using it since I listened to that podcast.