There is something known as a false start in American football. Basically it’s when the team with the ball starts before the other team legally has a chance to react.
Kind of like an Olympic 300 meter racer jumping across the starting line before the beginning buzzer goes off.
In football, the referees will blow the whistle, the play is stopped, the team with the ball is penalized, and they start over.
Now, with songwriting, there are false starts too. Thankfully, we have no hard rules, no whistle blowing, and no referees. We do have a penalty though, but it’s not what you think.
Jumping across the line before others expect it is considered cheating in sports. A false start.
In songwriting, it’s our goal.
We want to jump across the line at the very start, before anyone expects it.
If we had song referees holding us to fair start opening lines, we’d want them blowing their whistle until their lips were numb.
Any opening lines not cheating a listener’s expectation is fair game for the whistle.
And don’t get the idea this is wrong.
Because in songwriting, jumping across the line between you and a listener before the football is snapped is not only what we want, it’s what the listener demands.
And the penalty for not doing it is losing a listener’s attention or interest.
Thankfully, I’ve got a playbook with more than a dozen proven ways to jump your song into a false start before your listener can tune out.
These strategic plays are done by the likes of Roger Waters (Pink Floyd), James Taylor, Carol King, Adele, Billy Joel… the list goes on.
If you’re not writing false starts, it’s your choice. But, the penalty is against you, no one else. What that means is when you’re up in a songwriter’s round? The audience is listening to the other writer’s songs, not yours.
Get your playbook of opening line plays, some assignments to do, and a month’s worth of object writing topics: https://www.tunesmithtips.com/newsletter/