Great Opening Paragraph 26… ‘Midnight’s Children’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“I was born in the city of Bombay… once upon a time. No, that won’t do, there’s no getting away from the date: I was born in Doctor Narlikar’s Nursing Home on August 15th, 1947. And the time? The time matters, too. Well then: at night. No, it’s important to be more… On the stroke of midnight, as a matter of fact. Clock-hands joined palms in respectful greeting as I came. Oh, spell it out, spell it out: at the precise instant of India’s arrival at independence, I tumbled forth into the world. There were gasps. And outside the window,
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My Top 5… fictional heroes to follow on Facebook

Everyone has their favourite fictional heroes, the ones we want to read about again. We watch them in films, debate the casting, but always remain loyal to the book. Mr Darcy Rejection in the first place does increase mystique. In the films he comes over as one-dimensional whereas in the book there is always the hint of hidden layers, plus Austen’s delicate inferences that Lizzie’s assumptions are a little presumptive. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen [UK: Penguin]   Edward Cullen Rejection [see Mr Darcy], plus golden eyes and that olden cadence of speaking, manners, loyalty, the way his mouth crinkles
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If books were real, Jean Brodie…

Jean Brodie… would agree and disagree with Michael Gove [below] when he was the UK’s Secretary of Education. She would deplore his plan to build a free school on playing fields in Brighton, and celebrate his U-turn this week… … but support his focus on spelling, grammar and punctuation. “Deep in most of us is the potential for greatness or the potential to inspire greatness.”     ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ by Muriel Spark [UK: Penguin] How would other fictional characters behave, if they were real? Elizabeth Bennet in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ Sarah Burton in ‘South Riding’ Adam
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My favourite library… The London Library

Every time I go to The London Library, it feels like an enormous treat. Why? Well for one, it’s a private library and there is a membership fee which I feel I must justify by regular use. But mostly it feels like a treat because it feels like a library should. It is hushed, the bookshelves are full, floor to ceiling. It has one million books dating from the 16th century to today. I have my favourite workstation, except it’s just a ledge beside a window looking across the rooftops of St James, where no-one else ever seems to walk
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Writing Exercise – the five senses

When the imagination is sluggish, it sometimes pays dividends to take it by the hand and lead it towards creativity. This writing exercise has worked for me in the past. It can seem a little time-consuming when all you have to show for it at the end is a paragraph of text, but I have found the mini-brainstorms on the senses useful in other places. For example… SIGHT Blue sky – azure blue, the Maldives, a hot summer’s day, an icy winter’s day, white puffy clouds like cotton wool. A car park – red cars, blue cars, large and small, dirty and
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Great opening paragraph 25… ‘Super-Cannes’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“The first person I met at Eden-Olympia was a psychiatrist, and in many ways it seems only too apt that my guide to this ‘intelligent’ city in the hills above Cannes should have been a specialist in mental disorders. I realize now that a kind of waiting madness, like a state of undeclared war, haunted the office buildings of the business park. For most of us, Dr Wilder Penrose was our amiable Prospero, the psychopomp who steered our darkest dreams towards the daylight. I remember his eager smile when we greeted each other, and the evasive eyes that warned me
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Choosing the title for ‘Ignoring Gravity’

My first novel Ignoring Gravity had a variety of working titles, but was generally referred to as ‘Rose’. This was both in my own head, and by my family and friends. “How’s Rose?” they would ask, as if she were real. And of course, to me, she was, she still is despite having completed that first novel and embarked on the sequel. Finally, I have to thank Philip Larkin. I still have a Word document entitled ‘alternative titles’. Most were based on the themes of adoption and identity, nature or nuture, central to my story. Some corny, all just plain wrong.
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If books were food, ‘The Colour’ would be…

…an honest lunch of vintage cheddar, crusty bread and a pickled onion prepared by Harriet Blackstone from The Colour by Rose Tremain. I like strong heroines and Harriet is certainly is one, living through the New Zealand Gold Rush in the 1860s. Making a life in a strange, inhospitable land, Harriet, with her husband Joseph and her mother-in law, do not start afresh as intended but bring with them from England their old emotional baggage. The discovery of gold, ‘the colour,’ impacts on their basic lifestyle and the dynamics of their relationships in a way that none could forsee. Harriet’s
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Great opening paragraph 24… ‘Family Album’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Gina turned the car off the road and into the driveway of Allersmead. At this point she seemed to see her entire life flash by. As the drowning are said to do. She thought of this, and that the genuinely drowning can never have been recorded on the matter.” ‘Family Album’ by Penelope Lively Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘The Ghost’ by Robert Harris ‘Armadillo’ by William Boyd ‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Nabokov And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A 1st para which makes me want
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An old book: Treasure Island

This copy of TREASURE ISLAND was my father’s. It is from Collins’ ‘Laurel & Gold’ series, measures 16x11cm so fits easily into a pocket, and is bound in a pale green linen. In 1933 my father was nine. It is inscribed in pencil with his name and the date which makes it a second edition; the first was printed May 1931, the second January 1932.  I especially like the poem ‘To the Hesitating Purchaser.’ Perhaps today’s books should feature a similar ode. ‘Treasure Island’ by Robert Louis Stevenson [Alma Classics] And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS
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