This week: The First SentenceEdited by: W.D.Wilcox
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It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
—George Orwell, 1984 (1949)
I am an invisible man.
—Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)
Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.
—Franz Kafka, The Trial (1925;
If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.
—J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
Writing That Opening Sentence
Okay, you're going to write that first sentence of your masterpiece. You know you can do this. You believe in yourself. You stare at the blank page.
We've all been here. You know this first sentence is just as important as the very last one. It's got to catch the reader's interest. It's got to be perfect.
The way I get around this is to read the Masters that came before. What did they do?
This is a learning moment, revel in it . . . .
This is the saddest story I have ever heard. —Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (1915)
It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not. —Paul Auster, City of Glass (1985)
Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting. —William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929)
Mother died today. —Albert Camus, The Stranger (1942)
The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. —William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)
All this happened, more or less. —Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)
They shoot the white girl first. —Toni Morrison, Paradise (1998)
There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. —C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)
He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. —Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea (1952)
We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall. —Louise Erdrich, Tracks (1988)
It was a pleasure to burn. —Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
It was love at first sight. —Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961)
Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person. —Anne Tyler, Back When We Were Grownups (2001)
"To be born again," sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, "first you have to die." —Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses (1988)
He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. —Raphael Sabatini, Scaramouche (1921)
That's how they did it. What are you going to do?
Until next month,
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Editing is BLUE says,
Love is the strongest motivator for committing any crime. The love of Money, a person, or an object. Maybe greed should replace the word love. Love is strong, but greed drives action. Greed overcomes all conscience of thought that counters decisive action. When one is hit with conscience to not commit a crime, greed over rules. Love is a feeling that results in a response. Greed, is when love moves beyond feeling and becomes control.
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