Serving the pie first

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At our Thanksgiving table today I will be serving a pumpkin soup sprinkled with home made ginger snap cookies. I’ll then plate up a salad of thin sliced pears topped with dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, and blue cheese. Then the main course with all of the traditional dishes: mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, cranberry dressing, green bean casserole, and yams.

Throughout the meal people will make a show at initially declining seconds. They’ll shake their heads and say, "gotta save room for pie". I know that if I hold the serving dish in front of them they’ll go ahead and take a second helping anyway. I also know that I don’t need to save room for pie because I’ve already had some.

Friends of ours have a Thanksgiving morning "Pie First" tradition. This year one hundred and forty people came through their house to share Thanksgiving pies before their own family’s meal. I tasted a spinach quiche, a lemon tart, and a pecan pie. In a couple of hours I’ll be enjoying our Thanksgiving meal without thinking about saving room for pie.

Why don’t we serve the pie first in our books.

Not all the time. That could be bad for us. We might fill up on pie and never eat the vegetables or protein. But once in a while why not switch things up. Start your chapter with the fun stuff and then give the reader the background they need. This variety will help keep the reader’s attention and sometimes it’s fun to imagine the reader saying "That was cool, how did you do that." The pie has gotten their attention. Now you can give them the veggies and meat that they need.

Happy Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to write today.

This post originally appeared in the Pragmatic Life blog.