Hi everyone, this is my helpful guide to writing the lead sections on character pages - what to include and what to leave out. These sections are found on the articles of every regular and are very important to Corriepedia as they are often the first thing someome reads when browsing the site. For that reason, I want them to have a consistent style in terms of content, structure and length.
The goal is that they should contain all the essential details about the character in question, a condensed version of the full article if you will covering the broad strokes such as their marriages, children, any notable jobs they held, and their key storylines, written as concisely as possible.
To illustrate this, here are three examples of a 'good' intro section, one a long-term regular, one medium-term and one short-term.
Long-term: Curly Watts
Length: Four to six paragraphs.
Paragraph 1: The purpose of the first paragraph of someone around as long as Curly is to sum him up in a few lines, mentioning only the most pertinent information in ideally one or two sentences. So Curly's lists his supermarket manager roles, his duration, and his marriages while emphasising his years as a bachelor, without going into detail. Don't make it just a shopping list of relatives as this is very boring to read, stick to the most relevant ones - Curly's parents are omitted, while Ben and Alice, one being born very late in Curly's time in the programme and the other never appearing, are left till a later paragraph.
Paragraph 2: Each paragraph between the first and last ones should focus on one key part or chapter of the character's life. How they joined the programme should guide you here - Curly was working as a binman, then went into partnership with Terry, then went to college which led to Bettabuy and so on. Many characters will suit a more chronological approach (Deirdre certainly), but this career-focused paragraph is ideal for Curly as it's a journey that takes you from the beginning to the end of his years in the show, and gets all the supermarket storylines out of the way so that the rest can focus exclusively on his personal life and we don't have to go back and forth.
Paragraph 3: Covers Curly's early years in the street, again emphasising the 'loveable loser' role he filled. All of his major relationships outside of his marriages plus where he lived throughout the years are covered in just two sentences.
Paragraph 4: Curly's marriages, children and exit from the show. Again, not overly detailed.
Final paragraph: Any other relevant facts. For Curly, it's his council work and passion for astronomy. If the character is in the programme now, this is where you say where they're currently living and working, if not already mentioned.
Medium-term: Shona Platt
Length: Three or four paragraphs.
Paragraph 1: The same rules apply as above. Current characters should emphasise their present role in the programme (Shona is the wife of David Platt). No mention of Clayton here as he is not a regular character or appearing on a continual basis.
Paragraph 2: For characters with a complicated backstory like Shona, use the second paragraph to go through it. We're lucky that Shona's backstory neatly dovetails into her introduction allowing us to put all of the Clayton stuff into one paragraph. Again, economising.
Paragraph 3: A little more detail on how she and Dave fell in love. Some of this will undoubtably be trimmed if Shona is in the show for a long time, but it's fine for now.
Paragraph 4: The last three years, and what Shona is currently up to. Again, a cursory mention is all that's needed. The only thing that required detail was the memory loss storyline as it's still ongoing and is certainly the biggest thing to happen to Shona herself out of everything listed. No need for a separate paragraph to mention her present circumstances, as it follows on naturally from the sentence about the memory loss storyline, and it's a convenient place to say that she worked at the cafe.
Short-term: Jackie Ingram
Length: One or two paragraphs.
Paragraph 1: With a short-term regular, you might be able to fit everything here. If you can summarise their key relationship(s), their role or job was, and a little about how they joined or left the show if there's a story there in a couple of sentences, then one paragraph is fine. Jackie's mentions Peter, Mike, the factory, and the shotgun incident - what else do you really need to know? If it takes a bit more explanation, then follow the convention of long and medium-term characters.