Friday, July 18, 2008

Dream Team; Hooks and Starts

Dream Team:
Sports fans fantasize about putting their favorite players on a dream team and watching them work.

My dream team would be a a team of writers. What would result from bringing together my favorite science fiction authors? S.L. Viehl, Sandra McDonald, C.J. Cherryh, Elizabeth Moon, Karen Traviss writing in collaboration on a new SF series - it would either be a nuclear meltdown or a #1 NYT best seller.

Hooks and Starts:
Marina, writing at Pecked by Ducks, ponders writing starts and hooks. How to start a novel, what to write in that first sentence, first paragraph, that will ensorcell the casual browser and hook them into reading the rest of the book? I offer the following starts that hooked me into books I enjoyed:

"I didn't realize he was a werewolf at first. My nose isn't at its best when surrounded by axle grease and burnt oil - and it's not like there were a lot of stray werewolves running around."
From Moon Called by Patricia Briggs (paranormal, romance).

"Recycling won't save the earth, and neither will prayer. The Eqbas are coming."
From Matriarch by Karen Traviss, (science fiction).

"There were no hints of what was to come on that perfect summer morning, no sign that in a few hours, her life would be forever changed. But then, Iseabal was later to realize, momentous events are often heralded not by a thunderclap, but by a sigh."
From When the Laird Returns by Karen Ranney, (historical romance).

"The combination of a horse galloping far too fast, a muddy lane with a curve, and a lady pedestrian is never a good one."
From The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt, (sensual historical romance with humor)

So many books, so little time. Of course, not all books I've come to treasure have had strong hooks in the first line, or even in the first paragraph. I read them because I had learned to value the author, and was confident of good things to come. One such writer is Jo Beverley, whose historical romance novels are peppered with witty observations of the human condition - a sort of modern Jane Austin, if you will.

"I think the reason that we don't give women guns is that they are dangerous enough without them." From Something Wicked.

"We are what we are because of what we've been." From Lady Beware.

"But Diana's mind wouldn't stop at curious exploration. In the mind, it never did." From Devilish.


Marina said...

Love the werewolf one, The Raven Prince and Something Wicked. I could read any of those. I seem to be attracted to the ones that demonstrate a sense of humour. I'm sure I must have read lots of great openings that weren't funny, but it's the funny ones I remember -- something to ponder!

In fact, now that I think about it, the reason that I first started following your blog was because I couldn't resist that post about adverbs. Clearly humour is a big drawcard for me.

Now I'll have to find some novels whose beginnings workded for me without pressing the humour button, just to prove to myself that there are other paths to greatness.

Pandababy said...

If you read Something Wicked and enjoy it, you might also like Devilish by the same author, published eight years later. It won a RITA.

I love books that make me laugh out loud, as did the Raven Prince.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know this one:

"I stood there on the beach and said, 'Good-by, Butterfly,' and the ship slowly turned, then headed toward deep water. It would make it back into port at the lighthouse of Cabra, I knew, for that place lay near to Shadow."


Pandababy said...

Fantasy? but I don't recognize it...

It sounds delicious though. Tell me what it's from, Silvergull?

Anonymous said...

Delicious is the word. Roger Zelazny's Amber series

It's the opening to the second book - but the first one I ever read in the series. It hooked me on the whole, long series, which is a total classic in sf/fantasy. The last couple of books are a bit disappointing - he finished them quickly because he was dying.

But that man could write - lyrical and humourous before it gets pretentious, great characters and a wild imagination. Far and away one of the greatest ever stylists in the genre. His lots often turn arounds of world mythos - but treated with respect and original twists. Amber is Celtic/Indo-European Mythos. He won Hugos and all kinds of other awards.

Primadonna Angela said...

i agree! so many books and so little time. *sigh*