Friday, August 20, 2010

You Had Me at Hello: Solutions

- "Edwin wasn't dead."

Umm... that's mine. It's from the first draft of "Shift," a paranormal romance. Yeah, it's probably going bye-bye in the edits since it's not true to the tone of the book. I would be promising one thing and delivering another. Not cool.

- "Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations arising from domestic affairs changed naturally into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century; and there, if every other leaf was powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed."

One word: Exhausting.

Persuasion by Jane Austen, however, is one of my favorite books. It took me several tries just to get through the first chapter, though. It's run-on/wordy, it's full of punctuation errors, it's trivial... In defense of it being trivial: Sir Walter is a very trivial character. It suits him well. And it sets the stage nicely for his practical daughter Anne to enter... later.

The only reason I kept reading was because it is a classic. Any other book, it would have gone back on the shelf.

- "'Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,' grumbled Jo, lying on the rug."

As a writer who has had rules drilled into her head from writing books screams "They opened the book with dialogue. Ahhhhh!" 'Hem. Truth be told, this sentence from Little Women by Lousia May Alcott wouldn't hook me alone. When the other sisters chime in, however, with their own desires, I see a promise of sisterly bonding that is delivered in the rest of the book. This entices me a little.

They're a tight-knit bunch, but the first sentence does not make me glue my nose to the book. Yes, I am a fussy reader. It took me a year to get through this classic, and I like it... not as much as the next book, though.

- "The Opera ghost really existed."

Hooked. It's short, sweet and it sets the tone for the rest of the book, a close account of the mysterious Opera ghost and his doings. Gaston Leroux delivers in his horror novel "The Phantom of the Opera."

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