Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Old Beginnings 1
Here are five beginnings of books that got published. Their authors did (or are doing) well in the publishing world. Have at them. Do these beginnings pull you in? What's good or bad about them? Titles and authors are posted at the bottom of the page. Although this is not a competition to guess the sources, some commenters are doing so, so if you wish to guess, don't read the comments first.
1. Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs.
2. I'm ten years old, my whole life you've called me Vanya. My name is on the school records, on government papers as Ivan Petrovich Smetski. Now you tell me I'm really Itzak Schlomo. What am I, a Jewish secret agent?
3. The story had held us, round the fire, sufficiently breathless, but except the obvious remark that it was gruesome, as, on Christmas Eve in an old house, a strange tale should essentially be, I remember no comment uttered till somebody happened to say that it was the only case he had met in which such a visitation had fallen on a child.
4. It was early September, a busy time of year for raising the dead. The pre-Halloween rush seemed to start earlier and earlier every year. Every animator at Animators, Inc. was booked solid. I was no exception; in fact, I'd been offered more work than even my ability to go without sleep could supply.
5. Walking up and down the platform alongside the train in the Pennsylvania Station, having wiped the sweat from my brow, I lit a cigarette with the feeling that after it had calmed my nerves a little, I would be prepared to submit bids to move the Pyramid of Cheops from Egypt to the top of the Empire State Building with my bare hands in a swimming-suit; after what I had just gone through.
Old Beginnings 1
1. One Hundred Years of Solitude....Gabriel Garcia Marquez
2. Enchantment....Orson Scott Card
3. The Turn of the Screw....Henry James
4. Cerulean Sins....Laurell K. Hamilton
5. Too Many Cooks....Rex Stout