CHECK YOUR ESSAY LEAD*
- Is it inviting? Is there a voice? Is it lively? Will it engage a reader's
- Is it clear? Does the reader immediately understand what specific
issue or problem you're going to explore in the essay?
_Is it true? Are all your statements factual, accurate, and generally the
case, so the rest of your essay can be believable to a reader? .
- Is it focused? Does it point the direction in which the rest of the essay
is headed? .
_Is there an attitude? Does it sound like you, speaking with conviction
about your opinion on the issue? .
- Is there a clearly implied audience? Do you have a target audience in
mind? Who are you talking to and trying to convince?
- Is it long and developed enough? Is there enough meat here to
establish what the problem is and where the essay is going?
- Is it packed with information? Have you provided sufficient context,
background, evidence, concrete examples, quotes, statistics,
information of some kind, to make a reader want to continue reading?
- Is it honest and unexaggerated? Can the rest of your essay deliver on
what the lead is promising?
- Is the language clear and strong? Are the words you've chosen and the
sentences you've structured straightforward, easy, and inviting? Are
the verbs strong?
* Adapted from Write to Learn by Donald M. Murray (1999) Fort Worth, TX:
Holt, Rinehart, and Winston
@ 2002 by Nancy Atwell from
Lessons That Change Writers
(Portsmouth. NH Heinemann)