Archives for writing tips

Great opening paragraph 40… ‘Norwegian Wood’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“I was 37 then, strapped in my seat as the huge 747 plunged through dense cloud cover on approach to Hamburg airport. Cold November rains drenched the earth, lending everything the gloomy air of a Flemish landscape: the ground crew in waterproofs, a flag atop a squat airport building, a BMW billboard. So – Germany again.” ‘Norwegian Wood’ by Haruki Murakami  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue ‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Nabokov ‘A Passage to India’ by EM Forster 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: NORWEGIAN WOOD by Haruki Murakami #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-lW via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

My Top 5… books about writing

When I first made the switch from journalism to fiction, I did what journalists do; I researched, I read books. So here are my top five books about writing fiction, the ones on my bookshelf which I still turn to. ‘Story’ by Robert McKee [UK: Methuen] If the number one book is to be quantified by the amount of underlining and number of Post-Its, then this is my ‘most-used’ book on my shelf. The sub-title reads ‘Substance, structure, style, and the principles of screenwriting’. Yes, it’s a book about writing screenplays, not novels, but it is full of wisdom about storytelling. For example: “If you make the smallest element do its job, the deep purpose of the telling will be served. Let every phrase of dialogue or line of description either turn behaviour and action of set up conditions for change. Make your beats build scenes, scenes build sequences, sequences build acts, acts build story to its climax.” And this, on risk: “We’d all like to have our cake and eat it too. In a state of jeopardy, on the other hand, we must risk something that we want or have in order to gain something else that we want
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Categories: My Top 5... and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 39… ‘The God of Small Things’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees. Red bananas ripen. Jackfruits burst. Dissolute bluebottles hum vacuously in the fruity air. Then they stun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, fatly baffled in the sun.” ‘The God of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Spies’ by Michael Frayn ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy ‘American Psycho’ by Brett Easton Ellis 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 GOD OF SMALL THINGS by Arundhati Roy #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-n7 via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 38… ‘A Severed Head’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“’You’re sure she doesn’t know?’ said Georgie. ‘Antonia? About us? Certain.’ Georgie was silent for a moment and then said, ‘Good.’ That curt ‘Good’ was characteristic of her, typical of a toughness which had, to my mind, more to do with honesty than with ruthlessness. I liked the dry way in which she accepted our relationship. Only with a person so eminently sensible could I have deceived my wife.” ‘A Severed Head’ by Iris Murdoch  Amazon Try these other 1st paras by Iris Murdoch:- ‘The Sea The Sea’ ‘The Philosopher’s Pupil’ And read about the first edition of The Sea The Sea, first published by Chatto & Windus in 1978. Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Nineteen Minutes’ by Jodi Picoult ‘1984’ by George Orwell ‘The Cement Garden’ by Ian McEwan 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: A SEVERED HEAD by Iris Murdoch #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-ml via @SandraDanby
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Great Opening Paragraph 35… ‘Room’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Today I’m five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I’m changed to five, abracadabra. Before that I was three, then two, then one, then zero. ‘Was I minus numbers?’” ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue  Amazon Read my review of Frog Music by Emma Donoghue. Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’ by Carson McCullers ‘Family Album’ by Penelope Lively ‘These Foolish Things’ by Deborah Moggach 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: ROOM by @EDonoghueWriter #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-kw 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.