Eric Mayer

Byzantine Blog

Get Email Updates
Cruel Music
Diana Rowland
Martin Edwards
Electric Grandmother
Jane Finnis
Keith Snyder
My Incredibly Unremarkable Life
Mysterious Musings
Mystery of a Shrinking Violet
The Rap Sheet
reenie's reach
Thoughts from Crow Cottage
This Writing Life
Woodstock's Blog
Email Me

Admin Password

Remember Me

1482047 Curiosities served
Share on Facebook

First Paragraphs
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Read/Post Comments (4)

When Christine Verstraete asked Mary and me to contribute a snappy first paragraph from our writing for the First Graphs series she's running on her blog we hesitated. Neither one of us believes that it is absolutely necessary to start everything off with a bang, and our work reflects that.

For my part, while I appreciate a great opening, I have also encountered too many that turn out to be the literary equivalent of a carnival barker's spiel. They are exciting and enticing but once inside, too late, you find out it's not a dead alien at all but pretty obviously a plastic doll in an ice cooler. On the other hand, I have read plenty of great books and even stories which start slowly.

So we looked through our smallish literary output and found it woefully devoid of "grabbers" but finally remembered the locked room mystery that appeared in Mike Ashley's Mammoth Book of Perfect Crimes and Impossible Mysteries in 2006. "Locked in Death" was the fourth story about Inspector Dorj, who investigates crimes in modern day Mongolia. The first three appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.

Here then, is the first paragraph, a sentence long, of from "Locked in Death".

Mind you, a great first paragraph can be a good thing. Take for example the beginning of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson:

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

If I could write first paragraphs like that I would!

Read/Post Comments (4)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.