Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Lesson in Writing from....The Beatles

I love The Beatles. I am old enough to remember playing a board game based on the Fab Four (I was Ringo but always wanted to be Paul) and my very first musical purchase was the single, "The Long and Winding Road." I was young...and it cost me 79 cents. Yup, that was a whole lot of money back in those days.

Anyhow, my excitement at the remastered version of "A Hard Day's Night" scared people. I walked into my local Blockbuster...heard the music and saw the four guys from Liverpool. They were so beautiful-- all crisp and clear.The sound blew me away.

I wept. I wept right there next to their Rockband setup.

It was a beautiful thing.

Of course I purchased it. Watched it and salivated over every extra feature on the disc. I squealed over every tidbit of information about the boys that I had never known. ( I was pretty young back in those days.)

Between jumping up and down screaming, "I love Paul" and hugging my old vinyl albums, I stopped.
George Martin, famed Beatle producer, was saying something...something that thwapped my writer's brain with a Bart Simpson-like "D'oh!"

The original recording of the song, "Can't Buy Me Love" isn't what you know, love and listen to today. The original song started with:

"I'll buy you a diamond ring, my friend...."

Martin liked the song. It was...nice. Good beat, cute lyrics and a catchy melody. But something was missing and he told the boys so. The song just didn't grab grab him right off the bat. He wanted more. So Martin asked them to change it.

Start it off with a a bang....

Start it off with the chorus.

Yup. Think about it.

"Can't buy me love..."

Bammo! You're in the song. Lyrically you want to know the why and how that can't buy me love. Musically, you're up on your feet and dancing before you've even reach the dance floor.

Genius. Total genius.

Now, apply that genius to your manuscript. Does your manuscript start too early? Begin with the "nice" or "meh?" Listen to George Martin. Start it off with a bang! Suck in those readers so that they'll be on chapter two before they realize that they're still standing in the bookstore.

If John, Paul, George and Ringo can do it, so can you.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Happy Writings,