How can we write an attention-grabbing opening line so that we can hook our listener with our first line?
August 18, 2022 | 0 | Transcript of Episode 039
How can we write an attention-grabbing opening line so that we can hook our listener with our first line?Listen to the Episode
Transcript of Episode 039
[00:00:00] Hi, this is Melanie from Stories in Songs - Writing the Lyrics.
“Have you heard the news that you're dead?”
Oh my god, what did I just say?
How could I say something like that?
I promise you, it has a purpose.
I got your attention now, don’t I?
And that’s exactly what this episode is about.
Today, we continue with another technique of how you can create an attention-grabbing opening line for your lyrics beginning.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
[00:01:08] When we talk about Shocking Statements, let's just give a big shout out to the song “Dead” by My Chemical Romance (The Black Parade). They start that song singing: “Have you heard the news that you're dead?”
The entire song revolves around one Shocking Statement that serves one specific purpose: rattle the cage of the patient and make him face one particular question: Figure out what his life meant.
You don’t have to dedicate an entire song to confronting your audience (or your song’s character) with a Shocking Statement. But, to stick to our first-line techniques that grab your audience’s attention, the Shocking Statement as an opening line is one of the most powerful ways to make your listeners stop in their tracks. Hearing a Shocking Statement has the same effect as when you are told: “Have you heard the news that you're dead?” It’s an unexpected ball of chaos that spins into your life and knocks you out. You have absolutely no idea how to deal with that information. You are completely stunned, out of words, and don’t comprehend.
The beauty is: As human beings, we have a fierce desire to make sense of the things that don’t make sense. Even if it drives us crazy, we NEED TO understand them. Opening your lyrics with a Shocking Statement gives you the power to exploit your audience's stunned “WHAT?” moment. Then, after stunning them, you can elaborate to help them make sense of what you so boldly announced in your song’s first lines.
[00:03:35] The key to writing a catchy, mind-blowing Shocking Statement is to hint at a Powerful Problem. So although the Shocking Statement could count as a Powerful Problem, the audience's attention is grabbed by HOW it is said, or HOW that problem is addressed, and not WHAT that problem actually is.
[00:07:02] Here are some more examples of strong opening lines that start with a Shocking Statement:
[00:11:16] A Shocking Statement needs to stun your audience and make them stop in their tracks. It also needs to hint at a Powerful Problem. And the HOW it is said is more important than what is being said because the audience's attention is grabbed by that shocking statement, the HOW, and not what that problem is about.
And to wrap it all up, here are a couple of different ways how you can pull off the shocking statement:
I hope this second attention-grabbing opening line technique inspires you.
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© Stories in Songs, Melanie Naumann
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