This month's topic was openings- whether a novel or a short story- and the idea was to bring in a book where the start grabbed you and made you want to find out more...
|Writing the opening of a story?|
It was interesting to compare the openings of 'The 39 Steps' by John Buchan, written as a serial in the summer of 1915 before being published as a book a few months later, and Michael Frayn's, 'Towards the End of Morning' originally published in 1967.
Both these books didn't follow the grab your reader in quite the way it would be now. They were a more subtle winding of tendrils around the reader, luring them in out of curiosity rather than an outright, yes I want to know more now reaction.
I had that, I want to know more now reaction to a modern sci-fi/fantasy type opening read by one of the members- when I can get in touch with her and find out the title and author, I'll let you know.
Like the other two, the opening was centred around the thoughts of the viewpoint character, but in this case you knew something was going to happen to this one any moment, and it wouldn't be good.
Obviously the writing style of those 20th century written novels were different to the current demands. Novel lengths were shorter, and long paragraphs weren't frowned upon because that was the norm.
Openings are never easy, and I do wonder whether these earlier writers went through the same indecision with the start of their novels, that writers nowadays often experience.
Personally I couldn't narrow down my choice of openings that have stayed with me, from all the novels I've read...
Do you have a favourite opening to a novel that has stayed with you?
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