As it turns out, writers tend to have opinions in abundance.
I just read a blog post by a well respected, semi-famous AMAZON cyber-author who states that NEVER, NEVER, NEVER start your book with DESCRIPTIVE passages that deal with the SETTING. Also, don’t describe the weather.
My latest (admittedly first attempt at pure fiction) Novel does exactly that. It is a very short narrative burst (1 paragraph) which describes the back porch where a supporting character is setting up the action / story to come.
Like every other piece of advice I have read on blogs and how to tutorial books, I take it all with a grain of salt. In the very, very end, there is only GOOD and BAD writing. One can only hope that his/her stuff falls into the good category.
I use as an example, a scene from one of my all time favorite books – “All the Pretty Horses” by Cormac McCarthy.
The opening scene (as I vaguely remember it) is of a young man entering the front door of his house, passing through the outer door, then through the inner door and the reflection / image of a candle which moves as the doors open and close. Is it setting? I don’t know but it was bloody brilliant, amazingly accurate and able to transmit the exact idea so as there to leave no doubt. This, as Stephen King writes in his tutorial “On Writing,” is how writing is the Paranormal ability to send Telepathic images from one mind to the other using only words on paper. Equally WRONG according to some writers is to mention the weather. Oops, there goes that paddle again. Did that too. Oh well.
Time will tell if I get away with it or if it bogs down the narrative from the get go.
Actually, there is a certain credo relative to everything I have ever done in life. Maybe it would be something like this:
My writing will be as interesting as possible and I hope to tell as good a story as possible BUT … if someone becomes a fan of my work, they shouldn’t expect to be spoonfed. I am not going to write some hooky first line in every book with the hope of snagging readers. I hope to write a work of literature – not a POP song so… you might need to read a couple of paragraphs to get into the groove.
I searched “First lines of famous Novels” and found that about 20% of these books mentioned either the weather or setting so… if it is good enough for me.
David Gordon Burke
Find my books here.