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And the Bad Teases…

Picking up from the below post, Carl Hoffman gives us some examples of good teases and bad.

“Dear Editor, my name is Joe Smith, and I’m a freelance writer in Washington, D.C. I got your name from the most recent 1,120-page edition of the Writer’s Market, and I have a great idea for a story.”
** That line says nothing. It’s not compelling and it shows you don’t have a clue about hooking a reader.

“Dear Editor, ever wonder why tennis is everyone’s favorite sport?”
** Avoid asking questions where the answer might be no. If it is, game over.
“The inspiration for my proposed article dates to 1998 when I read a rousing account of the crowd yelling, cheering, mourning and finally cheering again – while watching the final World Cup match at a Parisian bar. I decided then that I wanted to be part of that scene some day, and even attend some World Cup games if possible.”
** This was actually written by a veteran correspondent in Latin America for a major American newspaper. It’s a classic example of telling, not showing. It’s boring.
Somewhere along the 1,800 torturous miles of day and night and heat and cold former Van Halen singer and tequila mogul Sammy Hagar may piss in his pants. Or No Fear’s director of marketing will simply refuse to go another mile, paralyzed with fear. Or it might even come to pass that a freelance writer, a veteran behind the wheel of a pewter-colored Ford Windstar mini-van (at least it’s a sport edition), may settle into the rhythm of the world’s most grueling off road race…and win.
(5,000-word feature sold to Men’s Journal)
Kurtz lives, only he’s moved downtown and he’s got satellite TV. “I’m sitting here watching ‘Six Feet Under,’ the Jacuzzi and swimming pool are nine feet away, and I’m about to go make martinis for the World Bank head of mission,” says X. “What’s not to like?” (4,500 word feature for Outside)
The most cutting edge boats on the water today are a class of sailboat called ORMA 60s. They are big, 60-foot trimarans meant to sail the world’s oceans at almost incomprehensible speeds: capable of bursts of 30 and even 40 miles an hour and 24-hour averages above 20 mph. Born on computers, they have carbon fiber hulls, carbon lines, carbon sails, hydraulically canting wing masts and dagger boards, and sophisticated GPS and computer integrated autopilots. They are powerful and sophisticated machines in every sense of the word. They can sail faster than the wind. (2,000-word mini-feature for Wired)
In 1965 California surfer Bruce Brown set out in search of the perfect wave and his film, The Endless Summer, became a metaphor for an elusive and serendipitous state of grace only found in a fleeting moment when the capricious elements of moon, wind, tides, current and psyche align just so in a distant land.
But what if you could surf the perfect wave every day? What if the perfect wave never stopped? What if, like, you could find the perfect tube at your local mall? (4,000- word feature for Wired)

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