Tag Archives: opening

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball


It’s crazy. Just when I have plotted out my life for the next umpteen months and settled back to work the plan, Life throws me a curve ball. It shouldn’t surprise me.

Enough seasons have passed through my earth-bound existence that I should know better than to think any long-term plan will play out exactly as I have envisioned it. It must be the optimist in me, for I keep planning.

Or maybe it’s my insanity. You know the old definition of lunacy: doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different outcome.

However, my recent roadblocks are just that–little obstacles. The unanticipated hiccups don’t really change my plans. My destination is still the same: write books. Now, I will have a few detours through unfamiliar neighborhoods. That can be a good thing, right? It adds color, dimensions, flavor to my collection of life experience.

I’ll stop rambling and be more concrete.

I make my living by farming. I make hay, cut wood, and grow vegetables for selling. This year I planned to add the sale of landscaping stone to my product line. Due to another hiccup in my life plan, my way of making a living was to be more important than ever in 2013. But. . . .

Karma has other plans. I have torn my rotator cuff. I am scheduled for surgery soon and will be convalescing for six months afterward. No farming this season. No farming means no income.

Thankfully, there is nothing wrong with my brain. So I have to ask myself, is the Universe clearing a path for me to write?

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The Importance of Beginning Well


The Importance of Beginning Well.

The reader is king.

So, I went looking for what a reader believes makes  “a good book.” Reader Subhakar Das shares a thought that should be obvious: he says begin well when telling a story.

Subhakar Das says “There’s nothing quite like a book that grips from the very first line. As a reader I attach a great deal of importance to the first sentence. Every time I open a new book to the first page it is with trepidation for I feel that if the first sentence is not quite right, the whole book will be a disappointment. It is a sentiment shared. But is the first sentence that important?”

As an author, I am guilty of ignoring the power of the opening line. Sure, I understand that the first sentence needs to hook my reader. What I fail to appreciate is the damage done by a poor opening. Agents and acquiring editors will quit reading if the opening sentence doesn’t impress them. Booker Prize winner Ben Okri says that if the first sentence of a book does not grab him, he is liable to close the book then and there.

Ouch!

Das explains, “The magic of the first sentence of a book can also inspire the writer in you. This is Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s impression of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis for before books were meant to help him sleep. He writes: ‘But this time the effect was just the opposite: I never again slept with my former serenity.’ The first sentence he was talking about was: ‘As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed into a gigantic insect.’ Such was the effect of Kafka’s writing, Marquez did not go to the university for the next few days for fear the spell would be broken.”

My advice? Re-examine the opening in the manuscript you are about to hand off to an editor. Be sure it is a zinger!