An opening I’m tired of

John Smith did something as another thing happened. “Unexpected statement that sets the tone of the story,” he said. 

Stories that open this way somehow lose my interest in an instant, no matter how interesting the things John is doing or saying are. Why? Because the structure of the opening is so familiar it induces a sigh regardless of the words? Maybe…

Turk Johnston vomited vampire bats out his glowing mouth while the gates of hell crashed open behind him and released a hoard of demons. “What a day to quit my addiction to summoning demons,” he said. 

Is it possible to write an opening in that format that is good? Somehow that structure just tells me the story is going to be schlock.

Debbie Wilson sighed at the crinkled photo of her husband as tears trickled down her cheeks. “I can’t believe it’s been a century and I still love you,” she said. 

Better? Maybe? But somehow, the structure saps everything out of it. I think it is the  name that really does it. Is it so important in any way that her name is ‘ Debbie Wilson’ that it has to be the first words we see?

She sighed at the crinkled photo of her husband as tears trickled down her cheeks. “I can’t believe it’s been a century and I still love you,” she said. 

Why is that suddenly so much better? But still, it could be improved to not be trapped in that simple structure of ‘here’s what’s happening everyone.’ Must everything be so direct?

Her withered finger hovered over his fresh, vibrant face, and she wished that version of him could rise above the crinkled, creased and torn surface–weathered as her own hand–that trapped him. 

Now I’m not being directly told ‘she is looking at an old photo and being sad.’

I guess that is really what it comes down to. Show don’t tell.

And now I know why I dislike that kind of opening!


How is Nabokov not everyone’s favorite author?

Just curious…

What inspires you to write?

A certain feeling, or idea? A shade, or color? A memory, or a dream?

Grab every little thing that sparks your imagination, and use it. The bobbing head of a black bird, the way a leaf twists in the chill wind, the boiling shape of a cloud. The twirl of your gut while falling from a height, the similar twirl while falling in love, the flare of anger in your chest, the prickle of anxiety on your scalp. The mystery of an unopened box… the unease of a dark corner… the satisfaction of a smoothly interlocking puzzle…

Gather all these feelings and burn them in your mind’s furnace to fuel your fingers and write, write, write!

Amaranthine logophilia

I’m still flipping slowly through the dictionary, and am still, as you see, in the A’s. I came across another one I like quite a bit, and will probably use:

Amaranth: A flower that never fades,

Which leads to Amaranthine: Undying.

Those words are both ear-catching. I love the shape and sound of them.

Words are like finely crafted little puzzle pieces that fit with each-other in a myriad of ways. Each new piece you add to your pile expands the pictures you can create..

New ideas

I’m already brainstorming the next novel, but I haven’t edited the first one yet… I think the process of creating will always be the more fun part for me, rather than the ‘selling’ side of it. It’s always a matter of being a salesperson. Even if you’re not self-publishing, you still have to try to sell the idea to an agent or publisher. And that side of it is something I’m just not good at/have not much interest in.

Can’t always enjoy or be good at everything, though, that’s for sure.

That’s great writing…

I’ve started on another Nabokov novel, and just from the first pages I’m already smiling. The way he writes is just somehow so humorous and beautiful at the same time. Not funny like jokes or goofy characters, but funny because you can imagine someone just like that, or you can see that little quirk or familiar behavior in yourself.

I hope to write something some day that can affect someone with a smile or a cringe or a shudder or a laugh or a tear, or make them think…


I’m in the mood to destroy words! I think I’d better not, though, until at least a couple other people tell me the targeted words are bad. Otherwise I might just erase everything…