(image borrowed from my space)
But there's something special about rhythm, the flow that words set to music takes on. We constantly hear the advice (sound advice I might add) that a writer must open with a strong first sentence, first paragraph, first chapter. And we know that a query letter without that dynamic opening line will take us nowhere. Same goes for a synopsis.
We must grab and taunt the reader, feeding them a hunger they didn't know they had. Same goes for music.
Have you ever listened to a song that started out with backstory?
"Um, yeah, I'd love to tell you the pain I'm feeling right now so you can make a connection with me, but first I must share with you how I loved picking berries when I was a kid and chucking them at passing cars. Oh, and I forgot to tell you that I hate the color purple because old farmer George down the road used to own a mean dog named purple. That dog freaked me out!"
Sure, the latter might be a funny attribute to your MC but only if it adds to the story. Here, I don't believe it does anything.
What about a laundry list of characters?
"Thelma and I went to Jimmy's farm with Rosemary, Veronica and her lame boytoy chuck, and that's where we had our fight."
Or a dream that kept going and going? Or a long passage about the weather, which had nothing to do with the message of the song itself?
I don't think we'd keep listening, would we? Prose can be beautiful, sending us to a place we haven't been before. But each line and word should serve a purpose. Musicians have just as tough a job as writers do, and they have less words to communicate their message and "hook" the listener.
Each of us has offered up a first line from a song that drew us in. Tell us what you think.
For me, it's Bryan Adams song (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, "Look into my eyes, and you will see, what, you mean to me."
I think we can see that each first line conjures a question.
AE - '...died in your arms...' How, why, and who are you?
JA - '...you're on my mind.' Why?
Me - '...what you mean to me.' What do I mean to you? Who is he talking about?
Nikki - '...seven hours and fifteen days...' Is there more significance here then said?
Jessie - '...you never close your eyes...' What is the reason, and who are you?
Can you think of a first line in a song that completely gripped you? What is it?