Wednesday, November 27, 2013
"Suddenly, The Dull, Heavy Snoring Of A Passed-Out Drunk Rang Out"
If you're going to write a novel and you want it to be a hit, you have to come up with a great opener, a sentence that grabs the reader by the throat and forces them to stay attentive to everything else that follows.
Or so I've been told. I've read a very large number of books, at least a couple thousand, and for the life of me I really can't remember a single one of them having an opener even close to the aforementioned.
That could be me though - I have a tendency to give a book a chapter or two to make an impression before I decide it's worth reading or not (I'm willing to bet I've started at least another thousand books I never finished, simply because they could not hold my interest after a few chapters).
I have read a lot of great sentences in many a book, by the famous (Kerouac's "telephone poles became toothpicks" and the not so famous, such as W.G. Van Tassel Sutphen's "Well, the catastrophe, when it came to be measured up, turned out to be a comparatively trifling affair.") and most of them have been found deep into the story. It's very rare indeed to find the best line of a novel on the first page.
Of course, that would save a lot of time spent reading. To be able to open a book, read the best line that the author could come up with right there on the first page...well, it would free up a lot of time for other activities...or more reading.