Getting Them On The One

A while back Whit and I watched a documentary on James Brown. In it, he talked about teaching songwriters. His instruction was seemingly quite simple, “Always get them on the one. Bam!” This stuck with me as a writer, because I think it’s crucial to always get the reader on the one as well. If you don’t hook the reader on that first note, you’re far more likely to lose them. People have too many other entertainment options to spend a lot of time trying to get into a story. 

Getting them on the one is a lot harder than you would think, and I know I have to put a lot of work into it. More than once I’ve written a good third of a book before I get to my first sentence. That’s why Try a Little Tenderness begins with Lola on the pole, in the stripclub. It draws the reader in, and gives you insight into what’s going on with the story. With FlyBoy, I’ve fallen in love with two separate intros, and have to choose one. 

“Where’s the beef?” Poppy rolled her eyes. Why did people think that was a funny line while eating one of her vegetarian sandwiches? 

“Probably still rotting in your colon,” she gave her standard response to the asinine comment. 

What do you think about this introduction? Does it make you want to know more? Do these people intrigue you? Did I get it on the one?

3 thoughts on “Getting Them On The One

  1. Her response was great. Makes me think she’s a snappy kinda girl. I’d want to ready more because of that.

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