Rambling River

At 554 pages and featuring a sprawling story spanning nearly the entire lifespan of its protagonist, John Irving’s Last Night in Twisted River is the quintessential “big, thick novel.”

This was my first stab at reading Irving, though I was familiar with his storytelling through the excellent film adaptations of his celebrated novels The World According to Garp and The Cider House Rules.  Like those works, this latest novel presents itself as an intimate epic, one that looks inwardly at an individual’s entire life amongst an eclectic community of misfits.

The novel opens with a lengthy episode in the titular Twisted River community where a limping cook named Cookie and his young son, Daniel (who grows up to be a best-selling novelist) work for a logging camp.  Through a series of unfortunate (and unlikely) events they become the victims of exile.  Continue reading

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The Hook Brings Them Back

The calm between the storms: And just where do they plan on fitting another foot of snow?

They sure do like to rush the sequels these days.  Just barely 72 hours after Snowmageddon dumped 20 inches or more over most of the Mid Atlantic, the sequel was rushed into production and now we have Snowmageddon 2:  The Sleetpocalypse, arriving mid-week no less and snowing-in the same area (and then some) once again.   As Dickens would say…it was the best of times, it was the worst of times

But it seemed the perfect cabin-fever brew to stir up some inspired work on that novel…you know…the one I’ve been babbling about since — For the Love of Pete — April of 2008!  Though I have much of the outlining and research completed and even drafted a very rough first chapter, one thing I have been wrestling with is crafting that perfect, killer opening line.  They say you have to grab a reader’s attention instantly, and if you don’t hook them with the opening, then they are less likely to come back.   I decided to test that theory and thought what better way to procrastinate than to hit my bookshelves and crack open some of my favorite novels and current reads to see how the masters of their craft hooked readers with that opening line.  

I invite my readers and fellow bloggers to do the same and leave some of you favorite (or worst) opening lines to novels (or screenplays) in the comment form! 

Here are some of my findings: Continue reading