Monday, June 13, 2011

"I Am Born"

The first chapter of "David Copperfield" is "I Am Born."

Following a chronology worked for Dickens but it is usually a disaster for speakers. Look at the expressions of the audience members. Watch as the eyes dart about the room. I can tell you what's going through their minds:

"How do I get out of here?"
"Now I know why that back row filled so quickly."
"Ten more PowerPoint slides and I will slip into a catatonic state."
"Ellen's looking good. I wonder what she's doing for lunch."
"Tahiti. No, Hawaii. No, Tahiti."
"Baxter had a heart attack yesterday. Lucky bastard."

That's why you want to plunge your audience into the story.

Remember the technique of thriller writers: Give the third chapter first.

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