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7 Classic Opening Page Mistakes


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I ran across this and thought it was a good tutorial on the 7 mistakes we should avoid in our opening pages (geared to fiction). I failed one - starting with someone waking up. One of my books starts that way. Oh well. :$ 

 

Note: I'm not familiar with Jericho Writers, so I'm not trying to endorse them. I just liked the video. They seem to offer writer support services (not a vanity publisher) for a cost.

 

 

Edited by Accord64
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I'll call and see you: my WIP begins with someone waking up with amnesia. ;) (I agonized over this until I realized that Roger Zelazny had done it, and pulled it off brilliantly. It's hard to do, but if you do it well, I think it can work.)

 

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41 minutes ago, Johne said:

I'll call and see you: my WIP begins with someone waking up with amnesia.

 

Ooh, and imagine if that person woke up in the hospital. Trifecta!  :D

 

Now you've got me thinking of how to use all seven at once.  A person having a meltdown at a doctor in a hospital, the POV rapidly shifting between the doctor, patient, and nurses, all being named (of course), but not much is revealed about anyone, and the hospital is on a different planet (with five moons). Then the scene abruptly ends as the person wakes up. But which person from the dream is it? 🤪    

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6 minutes ago, Accord64 said:

Now you've got me thinking of how to use all seven at once.  A person having a meltdown at a doctor in a hospital, the POV rapidly shifting between the doctor, patient, and nurses, all being named (of course), but not much is revealed about anyone, and the hospital is on a different planet (with five moons). Then the scene abruptly ends as the person wakes up. But which person from the dream is it? 🤪 

 

Genius. Remember us when you're spending your millions!  ;)

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One of my favorite sci-fi books begins with the protagonist waking up. Of course he wakes up suspended in midair and below him is a column of bodies fully assembled, while above him are bodies only partially assembled, with organs showing. The last thing he remembered was dying. (To Your Scattered Bodies Go.)

 

In my current WIP, I opted for exploding pigs. Doubt that's on anybodies list.

Edited by paulchernoch
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17 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

That does it!  When I make it big, I'm writing a book that starts with a person dreaming about waking up in a hospital bed.

Better - write a book about a literary agent who wakes up from a dream on a dark and stormy night in a hospital bed surrounded by fifty MFA students seeking representation and who are each named (with family pedigree), before he looks at himself in the mirror and describes every freckle, in rhyming couplets. Of course, the patient in the bed next to him wakes up from his dream at the same time, but curiously resembles a cockroach.

Edited by paulchernoch
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33 minutes ago, paulchernoch said:

Better - write a book about a literary agent who wakes up from a dream on a dark and stormy night in a hospital bed surrounded by fifty MFA students seeking representation and who are each named (with family pedigree), before he looks at himself in the mirror and describes every freckle, in rhyming couplets. Of course, the patient in the bed next to him wakes up from his dream at the same time, but curiously resembles a cockroach.

 

Careful! You'll have fifty Hollywood agents knocking on your door tomorrow morning. 😄

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  • 2 weeks later...

Guilty of the "waking up" thing, but I haven't found a way around it for that particular project.

 

So I'm going back to an old standby. Especially now that I know it was the first line in A Wrinkle in Time.

 

"It was a dark and stormy night."

 

 

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1 hour ago, EClayRowe said:

So I'm going back to an old standby. Especially now that I know it was the first line in A Wrinkle in Time.

 

"It was a dark and stormy night."

 

I thought that was Snoopy.  :D

 

darkandstormy_5013.jpg.f329606b68a5c1bc1304976e2f33757c.jpg

 

 

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4 hours ago, paulchernoch said:

I would, except that Kafka already wrote that one... (Metamorphosis)

 

I could have sworn Metamorphosis's opening line was not "Run with it, baby!"

Not to say that's a bad opener, though...

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From Wikipedia,

 

Origin[edit]

The sentence was actually written by Washington Irving in his 1809 "A History of New York",[2] but its status as a catchphrase for bad writing comes from the opening sentence of English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton's 1830 novel Paul Clifford:[3]

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents—except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

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