Sunday, December 14, 2008

Opening sentences

Nathan Bransford, an agent with Curtis Brown literary agency had a contest in which people posted the first paragraph of their novel. There were 1364 entries.

I had a difficult time deciding between Alex's story and Gabriela's. They're both good. Her's had a better opening but his was more recent. I tweaked the heck out of Alex's beginning.

I've always loved the opening sentence. It's rhythm, word choice and energy sum up Alex's mood and set the tone for the book.

By the time the Niagara River rushed northward, spilling over itself and careening off rocks in its haste to crash against the base of the old power generating station less than a mile from the crest of the Horseshoe Falls, its anxious roar was the perfect accompaniment to the mental state of the building’s lone occupant.

The other thing it did really well was slow down the action and jar the reader when the second sentence was from Alex's perspective. I cut it.

In the end, I was entry number 11-something.


  1. Nathan Bransford's blog is awesome. Elen recently brought it into my sphere of awareness, and it's helped to pull back the curtain on the writing business a little. It's a lot less intimidating to me now (still plenty intimidating, though!)

  2. I couldn't find your entry! :(