We often are called upon, and often seek, to tell stories about ordinary people. Susan Orlean is one of the best at writing such stories, and acknowledges the risk involved:
"Readers are initially resistant to a story about an 'ordinary' person. Persuading someone to read a piece about a 10-year-old boy who's not a 'star' is quite a challenge. All you can bring to it is your passion. There's got to be something you're trying to say. And there has to be a reason that a reader will read what you're writing. There's nothing that's obviously sexy about these stories. So, among other things, you need to write a good lead."
She talks more about leads -- and other things such as how it can be difficult to find the story in an ordinary person's life -- in an interview with the University of Oregon's Literary Nonfiction program.