Archives for how to write

Great opening paragraph 27… ‘The Inheritance of Loss’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“All day, the colours had been those of dusk, mist moving like a water creature across the great flanks of mountains possessed of ocean shadows and depths. Briefly visible above the vapour, Kanchenjunga was a far peak whittled out of ice, gathering the last of the light, a plume of snow blown high by the storms at its summit.” ‘The Inheritance of Loss’ by Kiran Desai Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Possession’ by AS Byatt ‘Middlesex’ by Jeffrey Eugenides ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A 1st para which makes me want to read more: THE INHERITANCE OF LOSS by Kiran Desai #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-nB via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

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 to read more: FAMILY ALBUM by Penelope Lively #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-7P via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 23… ‘The Last Tycoon’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Though I haven’t ever been on the screen I was brought up in pictures. Rudolph Valentino came to my fifth birthday party – or so I was told. I put this down only to indicate that even before the age of reason I was in a position to watch the wheels go round.” ‘The Last Tycoon’ by F Scott Fitzgerald  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘The God of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier ‘Goldfinger’ by Ian Fleming And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A 1st para which makes me want to read more: THE LAST TYCOON by F Scott Fitzgerald #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-eM via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 22… ‘The Collector’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“When she was home from her boarding-school I used to see her almost every day sometimes, because their house was right opposite the Town Hall Annexe. She and her younger sister used to go in and out a lot, often with young men, which of course I didn’t like. When I had a free moment from the files and ledgers I stood by the window and used to look down over the road over the frosting and sometimes I’d see her. In the evening I marked it in my observations diary, at first with X, and then when I knew her name with M. I saw her several times outside too. I stood right behind her once in a queue at the public library down Crossfield Street. She didn’t look once at me, but I watched the back of her head and her hair in a long pigtail. It was very pale, silky, like burnet cocoons. All in one pigtail coming down almost to her waist, sometimes in front, sometimes at the back. Sometimes she wore it up. Only once, before she came to be my guest here, did I have the privilege to see her with it loose, and
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 21 ‘Freedom’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“The news about Walter Berglund wasn’t picked up locally – he and Patty had moved away to Washington two years earlier and meant nothing to St Paul now – but the urban gentry of Ramsey Hill were not so loyal to their city as not to read The New York Times. According to a long and very unflattering story in the Times, Walter had made quite a mess of his professional life out there in the nation’s capital. His old neighbours had some difficulty reconciling the quotes about him in the Times [“arrogant,” “high-handed,” “ethically compromised”] with the generous, smiling, red-faced 3M employee they remembered pedalling his commuter bicycle up Summit Avenue in February snow; it seemed strange that Walter, who was greener than Greenpeace and whose own roots were rural, should be in trouble now for conniving with the coal industry and mistreating country people. Then again, there had always been something not quite right about the Berglunds.” ‘Freedom’ by Jonathan Franzen Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Dance Dance Dance’ by Haruki Murakami ‘A Bouquet of Barbed Wire’ by Andrea Newman ‘After You’d Gone’ by Maggie O’Farrell And if you’d like to tweet
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

I agree with Jeanette Winterson…

Jeanette Winterson “I never think: ‘I’m not at work now, so I’ll relax.’ For me, there’s no distinction. Work is the most absorbing thing in my life. Why would I want to switch off?” [excerpt ‘A Life in the Day: Sunday Times Magazine’ May 5, 2013] I’m with her there. I have always earned my living by writing, but writing is who I am not what I do. Stories have been the centre of my life since I first was able to read, the magical moment was when I realised I could make-up my own. Now the writing switch is hard-wired in my brain and cannot be turned off.  And I don’t want to turn it off. I stop when I am tired, not because I have run out of ideas. And I have never suffered from writer’s block, though this may be another benefit of my journalism background where there isn’t time for writer’s block to exist. If you agree with Jeanette Winterson, perhaps you will agree with:- SJ Watson – write every day, even if it’s rubbish Celia Brayfield – fiction without its darker side is like a Miss Marple mystery without its murder Chris Cleave – more
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 20… ‘Notes on a Scandal’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“1 March 1998. The other night at dinner, Sheba talked about the first time that she and the Connolly boy kissed. I had heard most of it before, of course, there being few aspects of the Connolly business that Sheba has not described to me several times over. But this time round, something new came up. I happened to ask her if anything about the first embrace had surprised her. She laughed. Yes, the smell of the whole thing had been surprising, she said. She hadn’t anticipated his personal odour and if she had, she would probably have guessed at something teenagey: bubble gum, cola, feet.” ‘Notes on a Scandal’ by Zoe Heller  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche ‘I’ll Take You There’ by Joyce Carol Oates ‘Death in Summer’ by William Trevor And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A #FirstPara which makes me want to read more: NOTES ON A SCANDAL by Zoe Heller #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-84 via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 19… ‘Catch-22’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him.” ‘Catch-22’ by Joseph Heller  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’ by Haruki Murakami ‘The Philosopher’s Pupil’ by Iris Murdoch ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A #FirstPara which makes me want to read more: CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-fc via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 18… ‘The Ghost Road’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“In deck-chairs all along the front the bald pink knees of Bradford businessmen nuzzled the sun.” ‘The Ghost Road’ by Pat Barker, #1 Regeneration Trilogy  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier ‘The Murder Room’ by PD James ‘That They May Face the Rising Sun’ by John McGahern And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A #FirstPara which makes me want to read more: THE GHOST ROAD by Pat Barker  #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-ev via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 17… ‘The Hobbit’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort.” ‘The Hobbit’ by JRR Tolkien  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘A Bouquet of Barbed Wire’ by Andrea Newman ‘The Guest Cat’ by Takashi Hiraide ‘Before I Go to Sleep’ by SJ Watson And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A #FirstPara which makes me want to read more: THE HOBBIT by JRR Tolkien #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-gZ via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love.

Great opening paragraph 16… ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Spring 1521. I could hear a roll of muffled drums. But I could see nothing but the lacing on the bodice of the lady standing in front of me, blocking my view of the scaffold. I had been at this court for more than a year and attended hundreds of festivities; but never before one like this.” ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ by Philippa Gregory  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘The Cement Garden’ by Ian McEwan ‘Midnight’s Children’ by Salman Rushdie ‘Herzog’ by Saul Bellow And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A #FirstPara which makes me want to read more: THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL by @PhilippaGBooks #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-eI via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 15… ‘Spies’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“The third week of June, and there it is again: the same almost embarrassingly familiar breath of sweetness that comes every year about this time. I catch it on the warm evening air as I walk past the well-ordered gardens in my quiet street, and for a moment I’m a child again and everything’s before me – all the frightening, half-understood promise of life.” ‘Spies’ by Michael Frayn  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Brighton Rock’ by Graham Greene ‘In Cold Blood’ by Truman Capote ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’ by Haruki Murakami And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A #FirstPara which makes me want to read more: SPIES by Michael Frayn #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-61 via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 14… ‘Rebecca’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me. There was a padlock and a chain upon the gate. I called in my dream to the lodge-keeper, and had no answer, and peering closer through the rusted spokes of the gate I saw that the lodge was uninhabited.” ‘Rebecca’ Daphne du Maurier  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Sacred Hearts’ by Sarah Dunant ‘The Sea The Sea’ by Iris Murdoch ‘True Grit’ by Charles Portis And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A #FirstPara which makes me want to read more: REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-8c via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 13… ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Sunday 1 January. 9st 3 [but post-Christmas], alcohol units 14 [but effectively covers 2 days as 4 hours of party was on New Year’s Day], cigarettes 22, calories 5424.” ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ by Helen Fielding Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Moon Tiger’ by Penelope Lively ‘Freedom’ by Jonathan Franzen ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A #FirstPara which makes me want to read more: BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY by Helen Fielding #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-7S via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 12… ‘In Cold Blood’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call ‘out there’. Some seventy miles east of the Colorado border, the countryside, with its hard blue skies and desert clear air, has an atmosphere that is rather more Far West than Middle West. The local accent is barbed with a prairie twang, ranch-hand nasalness, and the men, many of them, wear narrow frontier trousers, Stetsons, and high-heeled boots with pointed toes. The land is flat, and the views are awesomely extensive; horses, herds of cattle, a white cluster of grain elevators rising as gracefully as Greek temples are visible long before a traveller reaches them.” ‘In Cold Blood’ by Truman Capote  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Fortunes of War’ by Olivia Manning ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy ‘Divisadero’ by Michael Ondaatje And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A #FirstPara which makes me want to read more: IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-7C via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 11… ‘Brighton Rock’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him. With his inky fingers and his bitten nails, his manner cynical and nervous, anybody could tell he didn’t belong – belong to the early summer sun, the cool Whitsun wind off the sea, the holiday crowd. They came in by train from Victoria every five minutes, rocked down Queen’s Road standing on the tops of the little local trams, stepped off in bewildered multitudes into fresh and glittering air: the new silver paint sparkled on the piers, the cream houses ran away into the west like a pale Victorian water-colour; a race in miniature motors, a band playing, flower gardens in bloom below the front, an aeroplane advertising something for the health in pale vanishing clouds across the sky.” ‘Brighton Rock’ by Graham Greene  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Norwegian Wood’ by Haruki Murakami ‘Enduring Love’ by Ian McEwan ‘True Grit’ by Charles Portis And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A 1st para which makes me want to read more: BRIGHTON ROCK by Graham Greene #books http://wp.me/p5gEM4-7M via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 10… ‘Sacred Hearts’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Before the screaming starts, the night silence of the convent is alive with its own particular sounds.” ‘Sacred Hearts’ by Sarah Dunant  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘A Farewell to Arms’ by Ernest Hemingway ‘Time Will Darken It’ by William Maxwell ‘Nineteen Minutes’ by Jodi Picoult And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A 1st para which makes me want to read more: SACRED HEARTS by Sarah Dunant #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-f0 via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 9… ‘Slaughterhouse 5’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true. One guy I knew really was shot in Dresden for taking a teapot that wasn’t his. Another guy I knew really did threaten to have his personal enemies killed by hired gunmen after the war. And so on. I’ve changed all the names.” ‘Slaughterhouse 5’ by Kurt Vonnegut Jr Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Spies’ by Michael Frayn ‘Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’ by Haruki Murakami ‘Bel Canto’ by Ann Patchett And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A 1st para which makes me want to read more: SLAUGHTERHOUSE 5 by Kurt Vonnegut Jr #amwriting http://wp.me/p5gEM4-eX via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 8… ‘Jamrach’s Menagerie’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“I was born twice. First in a wooden room that jutted out over the black water of the Thames, and then again eight years later in the Highway, when the tiger took me in his mouth and everything truly began.” ‘Jamrach’s Menagerie’ by Carol Birch  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘The Guest Cat’ by Takashi Hiraide ‘Perfume’ by Patrick Suskind ‘The Ghost’ by Robert Harris Read my review of Orphans of the Carnival, also by Carol Birch. And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Does this make you want more? JAMRACH’S MENAGERIE by @CarolBirch http://wp.me/p5gEM4-ea via @SandraDanby #amwriting
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great opening paragraph 7… ‘The Big Sleep’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.” ‘The Big Sleep’ by Raymond Chandler  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Jack Maggs’ by Peter Carey ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell ‘The Secret Agent’ by Joseph Conrad And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Does this make you want more? THE BIG SLEEP by Raymond Chandler https://wp.me/p5gEM4-8B via @SandraDanby #amwriting
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.