Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 67 - First Impressions

Your opening line should hook your reader straight away.
No slush reader ever reads past the first page.
How many times have you heard that? And yet some great published works still start so slowly you want to stand behind the author at their keyboard tapping your foot and looking at your watch pointedly. It took me three attempts to get past the first page of The Count of Monte Cristo, but I've read that book about 10 times now.

In contrast, I just read the first five pages of Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson. The first line is:

I was raised in a gaunt house with a garden; my earliest recollections are of floating lights in the apple-trees.
Wow. Just wow.

The writing is amazing. It pulls you in and wraps you entirely in the time period, surrounding you with a sense of impending disaster and a creeping, overarching menace.

Of course, I'm only 5 pages in and I could be wrong, but I have the feeling this is going to be one of those books - the books that come along so very rarely that manage to enthral you without seemingly even trying. I'm looking forward to the next 346-odd pages.

Word count - 3,460

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