How One Little Story Twist Kidnaps the Reader’s Brain

Billy Wilder

“An actor entering through the door, you've got nothing. But if he enters through the window, you've got a situation.” – Billy Wilder, Born Jun. 22, 1906.

This is the secret of telling a seductive story that uses curiosity to suck the audience in like a cross between a vacuum cleaner and a blowjob metaphor.

The juxtaposition of the common with the uncommon, the expected with the unexpected.

And it doesn't take much. All it takes is just enough for the audience to mentally ask, “Wait, what?”

A one-armed golfer. A piano on fire. A wedding cake in the middle of the freeway.

The non-sequitur begs for an explanation, and so the audience is basically begging you to give them one when you show them something inexplicable.

And once you've got your hooks in them, you can drag them wherever you want. Segue from your startling scenario into your sales script, or your main messaging point, whatever that may be. It doesn't even have to be smooth if you've piqued their curiosity.

Curiosity craves closure. People MUST satisfy it once you've aroused it. Haven't you ever finished watching a shitty movie just to know how it ends? Haven't you ever read all the way to the last page of an awful book just because you're committed to what the opener teased?

So – provoke curiosity. Be interesting and odd from the start. Capture attention and pique curiosity.

Then, ideally, lead them where you want them to go, and leave them satisfied so they will hang around for more. And more. And more.

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