Packing Info in a Lead like Sardines in a Can

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Aja’s blog on overstuffing her leads made me consider my own tendency to do the same.  I try to cram as much information into my leads as possible.  I’m afraid I won’t put enough detail into my lead, and I have a hard time deciding which information is most important.  So instead of forcing myself to prioritize the information I just try to stuff it all in the lead.  However, as Aja pointed out, this can cause some serious problems.  It makes the lead long and the sentence can become confusing, increasing the probability that the reader will misunderstand what you write.  I think another valuable thing to consider is that if we really and truly stuff all the important information into our lead, why even bother writing the rest of the article?  Sure, we want to use the inverted pyramid, but that doesn’t mean we need to include every single detail in the first sentence.

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