A Lighter Shade of Garnet Presents: How to Write A Good Lede!

Ledes are made of these (letters, not typewriters)

Welcome to GABA101!

"In the beginning...there was a lede!" — Jorge DLG

When it comes to sportswriting, ledes are important. They are kind of like the article's placenta. They're how it all begins, the goal being to grab the reader by the shorthairs and NOT. LET. GO. There are a million ways to do this, because it's easy. You can use a song lyric or an anecdote, for example, because it's well documented that readers love both of those things. Of course you can start with a Websters™ Dictionary definition of a word (the word should be important to your article.)

My personal favorite is a version of this: the Double Meaning Special. The template is simple:

"To [PERSON ARTICLE IS ABOUT], [WORD IMPORTANT TO ARTICLE] isn't just [ALTERNATE MEANING OF WORD], it's..."

For example, let's say your name is, I dunno, Tonnor Capp. Let's say you're a professional blogsman and you're being profiled by Midwestern Bloggers Weekly. Start your story like this:

"To Tonnor Capp, a 'hot take' isn't just an attempt at filming a movie scene in an overheated studio."

In blog circles, "hot take" obviously refers to a bold and resonant opinion on a particular subject. But in the movies, you'll hear the director say "take one!" or "take two!" (depending on what number they're on.) But of course, we're not talking about movie takes, it's just a way to have some fun with your reader. By the way, you can even include multiple alternate meanings. Here's a really good example of that.

This kind of take-no-priznas wordplay is like flypaper for readers. They will have no choice but to fully and voraciously absorb every serif of your article. All because of that monster lede!

Because we at Garnet and Black Attack are big fans of creating Free Content, I've cobbled together a handful of free DMS ledes for your next Gamecocks sports article. Use these as the first part of your lede, and fill in the rest as it pertains to your article. Some of them are topical, but some are generic and can be applied to any sports piece. I would also invite readers to supply their own in the comments section.

Some Good Double Meaning Surprise Ledes:
  • To Ray Tanner, "irony" isn't just an Alanis Morissette song subject or a buffoonish way to describe a freshly pressed shirt,
  • To Chad Holbrook, "Great Expectations" isn't just a Charles Dickens novel or the mental contents of a woman pregnant with a fat-ass baby,
  • To Perry Clark, "firework" isn't just a Katy Perry song or what the caveman scientist told his pals who were trying to figure out how to make mammoth meat palatable,
  • To Lorenzo Ward, "depth" isn't just a physical dimension or the way a person with a lisp pluralizes the surname of actor Johnny Depp,
  • To Boo Major, "number one" isn't just is the only positive integer divisible by exactly one positive integer (whereas prime numbers are divisible by exactly two positive integers, composite numbers are divisible by more than two positive integers, and zero is divisible by all positive integers) or another name for pissin',
  • To Frank Martin, "anticipation" isn't just a Carly Simon song or a weather phenomenon where it rains ants,
  • To Dawn Staley, "faith" isn't just a country singer's first name or the confidence that things will work it out no wait it actually is the second one,
  • To Connor Shaw, "streak" isn't just the reason I have an arrest record or an unsightly underwear blemish which come to think of it I also have,
  • To Jerry Myers, "bullpen" isn't just a place where they put bulls or a thing bulls write with or a male pen,
  • To Shawn Elliott, "battering" isn't just the approximate pronunciation of a famous Batman weapon or a crucial step in preparing waffles,
  • To Steve Spurrier, "honesty" isn't just the answer to "Where does Steve put his golf ball before he hits it?" c'mon sound it out you can do this,
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