Yesterday, I taught my five-year old son how to come up with an opening that better tells a story. He had an idea. He was excited to tell me about. He knew what it was. Just I couldn’t follow it. Several minutes went by as he riffed on various ways to attach a light on top of our car. Then he let slip that the light was to scare away the crows. To which I asked, “Why do we want to scare away the crows?” To keep them from shitting on the car, of course! Only he’s five and didn’t say the word, “shit.”
So I asked him to tell me about his bird shit prevention light scheme again. Only this time, begin with something that sets the idea up. Something that’ll make me as excited about it as you are. He thought for a moment and came up with a new opening using his own words. Then he told his idea again, only better, when he explained it to mommy. And then even better when he told several other people about his anti-bird shit light. If you’re over, he’ll tell it to you, too, so act surprised.
There’s an old saying in traditional advertising that the most important words are the headline. And the second most important words are the first line of bodycopy. It’s just as true in web 2.0 or 3.0 or in stories told by five-year olds.
Posted at 8:49 am on Tue, Jan 4, 2011