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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen King

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are”*…

 

There are all sorts of theories and ideas about what constitutes a good opening line. It’s tricky thing, and tough to talk about because I don’t think conceptually while I work on a first draft — I just write. To get scientific about it is a little like trying to catch moonbeams in a jar.

But there’s one thing I’m sure about. An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this….

When I’m starting a book, I compose in bed before I go to sleep. I will lie there in the dark and think. I’ll try to write a paragraph. An opening paragraph. And over a period of weeks and months and even years, I’ll word and reword it until I’m happy with what I’ve got. If I can get that first paragraph right, I’ll know I can do the book…

– Stephen King (click here for full interview)

Find inspiration– or just enjoyment– at Kick Ass Ledes (“Your Daily Fix of Damn Good Opening Lines”).

Readers can follow KAL on Twitter… and noticing the the skew there toward long-form non-fiction and short stories, can further explore the implications of Mr. King’s advice in other, more novel-centric lists (e.g., here).

* W. Somerset Maugham

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As we sharpen our pencils, we might send carefully-composed birthday greetings to Chloe Ardelia Wofford; she was born on this date in 1931.  A convert to catholicism at age 12, she took the baptismal name “Anthony,” which family and friends shortened to “Toni”; then at age 27, she married George Morrison…. so it was as Toni Morrison that she published her first novel, The Bluest Eye, in 1970.  She went on to write 9 more novels (including Beloved and Song of Solomon), a number of non-fiction books, a pair of plays, a host of essays, and an opera libretto– all while serving as a university professor at Howard, SUNY, Rutgers, and now Princeton.  She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for Beloved, the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

They shoot the white girl first.

– Toni Morrison, (the first line of) Paradise

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Written by LW

February 18, 2014 at 1:01 am

Put to a higher use…

Bueno Aires’s Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid, once a palatial movie theater

Nine more “Awesome Bookstores Repurposed from Unused Structures” here.

And then there’s…

Nassau Public Library in Nassau, Bahamas, once a colonial jail

Nine more “Wonderful Libraries Repurposed from Unused Structures” here.

And, closer to home…

Share Your Shelf: “You have bookshelves. People want to see them. That’s what happens here.”

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As we alphabetize, we might recall that it was on this date in 1996 that noted overachiever Stephen King, who has published 50 novels and almost 200 short stories, released not one, but two novels: Desperation, under his own name, and The Regulators, as Richard Bachman.  He found time that same year to appear on guitar with The Rock Bottom Remainders.

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Written by LW

September 24, 2012 at 1:01 am

“The covers of this book are too far apart”*…

From our old friends at Awful Library Books

Something “borrowed”:

And something blue…

More of each of these (back covers, sample pages) and more tenebrous tomes at Awful Library Books.

*Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

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As we turn the page, we might send eerie birthday greetings to Howard Phillips Lovecraft; he was born on this date in 1880.  A pioneer of “horror” fiction and SciFi who was almost unknown in his lifetime, H.P. Lovecraft has become one of the most influential writers of the Twentieth Century– Jorge Luis Borges, Joyce Carol Oates, and Stephen King, among many other writers, comic artists, and filmmakers, have all proclaimed their indebtedness.

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Written by LW

August 20, 2012 at 1:01 am

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