How many fiction writers do we have here?

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Mollys Mum
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Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:37 pm Post

Thanks, Hugh. :)
No idea about Greg; maybe he can help us out. I have enough trouble finding much larger things in a haystack. :oops:

Hu
Hugh
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Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:54 pm Post

Greg had cannily mated "Ex Libris" with Scrivenings, by listing twenty or thirty famous first sentences amongst which his own was buried.

I was just failing to resist the lure of trying to work out which was his when the post disappeared. Ah well.

H
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

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gr
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Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:58 pm Post

Here is a kind of reverse Ex Libris -- i.e., my opening line(s) cast anonymously among a mix of published opening lines by more or less widely-known authors. To keep the hunt sporting, I leave open the possibility that none of the following is, in fact, mine. :wink:

Once upon a time when the world was young there was a Martian named Smith.

The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed sub-category. He's got esprit up to here.

The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.

I was a palm-wine drinkard since I was a boy of ten years of age. I had no other work more than to drink palm-wine in my life.

"Nothing to be done." "I'm beginning to come around to the same opinion..."

I'll make my report as if I told a story, for I was taught as a child on my homeworld that Truth is a matter of the imagination.

So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness.

"I'd like a bloody castle," the fat diner had said.

At a certain village in La Mancha, which I shall not name, there lived not long ago one of those old-fashioned gentlemen who are never without a lance upon a rack, an old target, a lean horse, and a greyhound.

Abode where lost bodies roam each searching for its lost one. Vast enough for search to be in vain. Narrow enough for flight to be in vain.

She enters, deliberately, gravely, without affectation, circumspect in her motions (as she's been taught), not stamping too loud, not dragging her legs after her, but advancing sedately, discreetly, glancing briefly at the empty rumpled bed, the cast-off nightclothes. She hesitates.

Incredible the first animal that dreamed of another animal.

Would I find La Maga? Most of the time it was just a case of my putting in an appearance, going along the Rue de Seine to the arch leading into the Quai de Conti, and I would see her slender form against the olive-ashen light which floats along the river as she crossed back and forth on the Pont des Arts, or leaned over the iron rail looking at the water.

This is how it begins. How the beginning of it begins. And she tells the beginning of it, but that is not the beginning. Not the way she tells it.

riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and environs.

In this dark adored adorned gehenna say your farewells my very beautiful one my very strong one my very indomitable one my very learned one my very ferocious one my very gentle one my best beloved to what they, the women, call affection tenderness or gracious abandon.

In a sense, I am Jacob Horner.

You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler. Relax.

The doctor with whom I discussed the question told me to begin my work with a historical analysis of my smoking habit.

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest. It was a picture of a boa constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal.

Nancy Drew rose from the sofa where she had been sitting. The book she had found so engaging yesterday could not keep her interest today.

Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down the road and this moocow that was coming down the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo...

When Mrs. Frederick C. Little's second son arrived, everybody noticed that he was not much bigger than a mouse.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Tattered as the others this one was done in a fine close hand. "TL Rooke -- Purveyor of Secrets." She did not press the bell.

"I declare, I don't know what makes me so nervous this afternoon! I have the strangest feeling -- just as though something were about to happen."

Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. "Stop!" cried the groaning old man at last. "Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree."

"What's it going to be then, eh?"

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matt
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Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:26 pm Post

Greg,
I really thought you could do better than writing a Nancy Drew novel.

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gr
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Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:45 pm Post

Ha! Yeah, but I really made up for that when I wrote Beowulf.

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Jaysen
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Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:27 pm Post

This is opening to a little thing I am working on for … well, you will get the idea.
The way I figure it you got the short straw when God was letting souls pick their fathers. This assumes that you had a choice, probably not. Either way I really am glad I didn’t have me as a dad. But you did. Sorry about that.


Asbestos shorts installed.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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gr
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Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:47 pm Post

SeanC wrote:The first line of my next book (current WIP) is:

The Deceiver had not yet arrived, but the multitudes preceded him and Jackson Square was packed.



Hmm. I am doubtful that even one multitude could fit in a square.* A double dose of sarcastic exaggeration? (There is, I take it, already more than a hint of sarcasm in the term 'the Deceiver').

--Greg

* Unless it is a multitude of angels, of course. But then the proper group term for angels is 'host', eh?

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Sean Coffee
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Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:20 pm Post

These are not the first lines of my current project (way too superstitious to post that), but the first lines of the last screenplay I finished:

BLACK SCREEN

A thrumming sound. The obdurate pulse of mechanized evil. Or:

A SLURPEE MACHINE.

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gr
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Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:29 pm Post

Jaysen wrote:"The way I figure it you got the short straw when God was letting souls pick their fathers. This assumes that you had a choice, probably not. Either way I really am glad I didn’t have me as a dad. But you did. Sorry about that."


Now that I know the literati cannot discern my own opening lines from the opening lines of great authors, I am dangerously emboldened to make comment:

If the souls are pulling straws, they are in a lottery, not choosing among fathers. So, 'short straw' and 'picking their fathers' seem in tension here, likewise 'assumes you had a choice'.

Hewing too closely to the when-God-was-handing-out-the-brains saying takes more words than it pays. Find the shortest path to link 'short straw' and 'father' and that will do it (and will make that 'short straw' do its sly double-duty, to boot).

--Greg

P.S. If you want my advice, I think no one here should take my advice on anything.
Last edited by gr on Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Jaysen
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Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:50 pm Post

gr wrote:If the souls are pulling straws, they are in a lottery, not choosing among fathers. So, 'short straw' and 'picking their fathers' seem in tension here, likewise 'assumes you had a choice'.

Hewing too closely to the when-God-was-handing-out-the-fathers saying takes more words than it pays. Find the shortest path to link 'short straw' and 'father' and that will do it.

--Greg

P.S. If you want my advice, I think no one here should take my advice on anything.

Tension is … good?

The lottery feel was intentional. If you are "choosing" then you might choose badly. Hence the short straw.

Point taken. I figure I can probably sum it up adequately with
Consider your father. Sucks to be you.

Actually I kind of like that.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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gr
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Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:53 pm Post

Jaysen wrote:Tension is … good?


Mixed drink is good. But metaphors are best neat. :wink:

The lottery feel was intentional. If you are "choosing" then you might choose badly. Hence the short straw.
Point taken. I figure I can probably sum it up adequately with
Consider your father. Sucks to be you.

Actually I kind of like that.


Consider a sequence of the following form: [Your line where speaker says he would not want to have himself for a father.] [Sentence where son is told he pulled the short straw (without trying to explain in what lottery).] [Apology sentence.]

So, you have your lottery and eat it too.

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Jaysen
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Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:58 am Post

Excellent!

But now we see why writing, for me, is just a hobby.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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gr
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Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:50 pm Post

That's why we are all hobbyists (including those who accept money for doing it).

dr
druid
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Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:17 pm Post

Kidding aside, quite a few of the forum users are professional writers, editors, etc.
If your work brings in earnings, it's not a hobby. Just ask the IRS!

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Jaysen
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Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:59 pm Post

I do enough "writing" for work to recognize the skill required to be a professional writer. Many moons ago I believe I started a small civil conflict here at L&L by asking the difference between "writer" and "author". My eventual take away was that writer:author::painter:Da Vinci. The implication is that one is more "art" in the sense of freedom of expression in a media. As we all know there are a lot of bad "Da Vinci wanna' bees" out there. I would put my attempts at writing squarely in the "art" department. I enjoy it, feel that it is "good" in its own right, but have no delusions of grandeur as to its quality†. I would hate a job in which I had no ability to see the Da Vinci side of my work. Which would my my job a hobby. Maybe that was what GR was suggesting.

But … I could be wrong. Happens pretty frequently these days as the now-15-year-old daughditor reminds me. Several times each day she reminds me. *sigh*

Which I am not sure I could have said 2 years ago
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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