How Writing a Lead is Like a Striptease

Don’t start by tearing off all your clothes!

Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

I spend an inordinate amount of time writing the leads of my stories. If I were to clock it, I’d guess that I spend 25 or 30 percent of my time on a piece working on the first few sentences, and the remainder on the rest of it. This seems out of whack, since the real estate devoted to the first sentence or two is so small…



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Susan Orlean

Staff writer, The New Yorker. Author of The Library Book, The Orchid Thief, and more…Head of my very own book club (join me!)