First Sentences

The Good Guy by Dean Koontz

“Sometimes a mayfly skates across a pond, leaving a brief wake as thin as spider silk, and by staying low avoids the birds and bats that feed in flight. At six feet three, weighing two hundred ten pounds, with big hands and bigger feet, Timothy Carrier could not maintain a profile as low as that of skating mayfly, but he tried.”

This is interesting because the contrast between a mayfly and a man is stark, and grabbed my attention in a bout of curiosity.

Prey by Michael Crichton

“Things never turn out the way you think they will. I never intended to become a house-husband. Stay-at-home husband. Full-time dad, whatever you want to call it-there is no good term for it.”

This grabbed my attention because house-husbands are rarely heard of (in books and in reality), so listening to one’s story is completely interesting.

Hannibal by Thomas Harris

“Clarice Sterling’s Mustang boomed up the entrance ramp at the Bureau of Alcohol , Tobacco, and Firearms on Massachusetts Avenue, a headquarters rented from the Reverend Sun Myung Moon in the interest of economy. The strike force waited in three vehicles, a battered undercover van to lead and two black SWAT vans behind it, manned and idling in the cavernous garage.”

This is very interesting to me because the dramatic switch from boring real estate to crime pulls me to read further. I wonder why the SWAT are there? That is the question that pulls me to read.

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

“Leo,

It’s been about six hours since you left the island. The way things have been, I know you wouldn’t have expected me to come to see you off, but I keep thinking about how you waved and waved from the bock five years ago, when I was leaving for Toronto.”

The speaker sounds mournful, which I find interesting. There is no spectacular hook, but I can tell that there is a subtle, underlying hint of danger that could grow later on in the novel.

Amazing Metaphors

All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.
Khalil Gibran

Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.
George Orwell

Dying is a wild night and a new road.
Emily Dickinson

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
Pablo Picasso

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour.
Truman Capote

The City of Light – In Pieces

 

When Erika stepped through the door of her apartment still furious about her encounter with Alistair, Hope was on the kitchen floor, “reading” a magazine upside-down. She dropped her keys on the counter carelessly and knelt down to her daughter’s height.

“What are you looking at, dear?” she asked. Hope looked up quickly to smile at Erika, her soft black hair covering her eyes when she returned to the magazine. “Oceans.” she replied “There’s a lot of blue.” Smiling, Erika picked up Hope and sat her on the counter, forgetting about Alistair and what he said. She was surprised when Mathew came around the corner, but remembered that he was supposed to be there. “Hey Mathew, has she been good?” Erika asked him.

Mathew took care of Hope when she came home from school every day, as he left work earlier than Erika, who continuously worked late-nights. He looked at her, then at Hope, who looked up from the magazine once again to smile at him. “Very good. She keeps to herself though, like always. Reminds me of someone I know, actually.” Erika shrugged slightly before taking her coat off and placing it on the coat hanger beside the door. Mathew followed her, sliding his feet into his work shoes with ease. He said goodbye to Hope, who quickly waved her hand in farewell before he stepped out into the hallway. Erika stopped him before he could go any farther.

“Hey Mathew, I just wanted to say thanks. You know, for taking care of Hope and everything.” Mathew looked back from the hallway to the grey-eyed woman leaning against the side of the door.

The second the engine shut off, Erika became stone. She sat completely still, not daring to even shift in her seat when she had an itch. She glared at the darkness of the alleyway in silence, waiting for her target to appear, and when a man in a red hoodie emerged from the shadows, her heart raced. He walked with a limp, oblivious to the detective in the car he passed. Erika saw his erratic movements and realized that the suspect wasn’t shown to have a limp, but she didn’t care. She would get him, no matter how he walked.

Like poison, Erika slid out of her half-open door and into the damp, murky night. The cold air dulled her sense of touch, but she hardly noticed as she followed the man as her mind was elsewhere; somewhere dark and without feeling. She walked, keeping a reasonable distance between them, but as he turned a corner to head into another alleyway, she quickened her pace. His limp was how Erika easily caught up to him when they were both cloaked from prying eyes, and she couldn’t wait to get started.

A buzzing feeling against her leg was what woke her up from her sleep. Erika opened her eyes lazily to see the roof of a vehicle, and for a short time, she wondered why she was sleeping in the back of her car. Nonetheless, she sat up and maneuvered to the driver’s seat to answer her phone, which buzzed again furiously. It was a text, and upon reading it, Erika wiped the sleep from her eyes and drove to the crime scene, head buzzing with a migraine.

“Took you long enough to get here. Didn’t you get my texts?” Matthew crossed his arms as Erika stepped out of her car, worn and tired. She looked at him and scoffed. Matthew got off the topic, but switched to another, as he knew it would be next. Just as Erika opened her mouth to speak, he interrupted her. “Hope’s fine. She’s at school.”

Risking His Life For Pennies

My father works as a window installer in Vancouver. This means that at twelve on each and every work day he is rappelling off the tops of skyscrapers with other people to install new windows for the city. In his workplace this is referred to as “abseiling”, or “to rope down”. To me it means “dangerous”. If a single knot is left weak, or if there is a single fray in the rope, I could be left fatherless, and so could my brother. People all over the world do anything in order to feed their families, and many of them risk their lives. My father is one of those people.

Recently, he had to move to another company after his other workplace claimed bankruptcy. This new company is paying him almost nothing for the work he’s doing, and I can’t seem to understand why. A lot of other people in dangerous trades have this problem, too, like loggers and taxi drivers. Every day they’re on the job, risking their safety so other people can enjoy life. A good example of this would be the fishermen out in the Arctic or Pacific Oceans. In their case, they have to worry about extreme weather conditions and heavy equipment. These are all conveniently placed above “drowning”. Their pay? A staggering $33,430 per year. With a death count of 63 in 2012, it is true that loggers have it worse, as they get $33,630 annual pay, a tiny increase of  $200 with almost double the death count of fishermen in 2012. Not a fair price to pay if someone’s risking their life. The least the government could do is make an increase in safety regulations if they aren’t planning to increase the pay.

It makes me angry and it makes me sick, but most of all, it worries me. My father will do what he needs to, but I really wish the company would actually think about this problem. I’m quite sure that if we tied up the CEO and threw him off a building (held by ropes, of course), he would actually see what it’s truly like, and most certainly raise the pay, just so he wouldn’t have to experience it again.

Waking Thoughts

I could move, but I was slow about it. I was forced to watch my death come slowly up the track in a black mass of steel and coal. As I attempted to move out of the way, I began to think to myself: Why can’t I move properly? How did I get here? I closed my eyes, but when I opened them, I was suddenly in the school’s hallway. By that time I realized there was something wrong. I took in my surroundings, feeling carpet under my feet.  I knew I’ve never been to a place like that. That’s when I figured out the illusion. Like clockwork, I began to become aware of the pillow under my head. I was sad. I didn’t want to leave the confines of my skull just then, as in there I was the architect of my own world, but outside of it I had no control. I violently woke up as my mother turned on the light to get me up for school, but I refused to move. Why is it morning? I don’t want to leave or see anyone today. I believed in the fact that I still had ten minutes before I would have to leave my bed, so I kept my eyes shut, hoping for tranquility. It didn’t come. All I saw was darkness.

Writing Scenes

Links

http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/writing-the-perfect-scene/

http://johnaugust.com/2007/write-scene

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/10-ways-to-launch-strong-scenes

Summary

  1. Jump into the action right away. Don’t drag your feet.
  2. Hook readers with large surprises.
  3. Make the action relevant to your character’s personality.
  4. Act first, think later.
  5. Communicate information to the reader before the action.
  6. Reveal a character’s intentions that can’t be shown through action.

Questions

  1. Does the beginning have to include a lot of action, or can it lead to it?
  2. Can action be gradual?
  3. How can you reveal information about the character if the narrator isn’t omniscient?

Plot

Links

http://www.creative-writing-now.com/what-is-plot.html

http://www.scribendi.com/advice/goldenrulesforagoodplot.en.html

http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/plot-outline.html

 

Summary

  1. For there to be story, there must be flow and change. How to get from point A to Point B.
  2. The change can be the realization that nothing will change.
  3. Happiness is overrated.
  4. Stir up trouble; otherwise the plot will be dull.

 

Questions

  1. Can characters ever have a happy ending?
  2. How often does change need to occur?
  3. Is death a viable plot device?