Opening Sentences in Fiction

In this blog, I try to share  posts and articles I found interesting. They relate to the writing process, the lives of writers and the business of books. They say that the opening sentence is one of the most important parts of a book. Legend has it that famous authors have spent months sharpening that one sentence to perfection. The Guardian has this wonderful collection titled, ” The 10 best first lines in fiction.” You might or might not agree that these are the 10 best, but they do make  good reading. Mark the variety of these opening lines which underlies the point that there is no one way to score an ace. Continue reading “Opening Sentences in Fiction”

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The Best of American Magazine Writing

To tell you the truth as  a kid, it was my ambition to become a journalist. I would have loved to have become one but in the India of the ’60s and ’70s where I grew up, it wasn’t considered to be a hot career. At least that was the case in my family.  I have loved and followed magazine writing over the years. As a writer myself, I have often felt the short, terse sentences and the pace of the articles written in magazines call for special skills. Some of these are  quite different from those you would need for a long novel, though basic elements of good writing would undoubtedly remain the same. Continue reading “The Best of American Magazine Writing”

Manreet S. Someshwar’s latest. Also Writers on Writing.

Manreet Sodhi Someshwar’s latest novel, ” The Hunt for Kohinoor” (Westland, 2013) is slated to be released  in mid-December 2013. As is common these days, you can pre-order this at Flipkart.  This, if I am not mistaken, is a sequel to her earlier book, “The Taj Conspiracy” which was very interesting. I loved her first book, “The Long Walk Home,” which was set in the Punjab at the time of the Partition. My best wishes go out to Manreet. May ” The Hunt For Kohinoor” be a super hit!

Many people have the urge to write and write well. However, not everyone makes the grade. In this context, I liked this blog post by Maria Popova in Brainpickings called, “9 Books on Reading and Writing.” With gems from authors like Ernest Hemingway and Stephen King, this post points you to books that can transform your writing.

A few extracts:

  • Anne Lamott in ” Bird By Bird, A Few Instructions on Writing and Life,”

“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”

  • Stephen King in his classic,  “On Writing:A Memoir of the Craft”

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”

  • Ernest Hemingway in ” Ernest Hemingway On Writing”

” The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.”

A selection of articles on Writing

I earnestly believe that a writer gets better as he reads. It’s so important to read a lot and gain different perspectives on the huge amount of knowledge available on writing. I would like to share with you a couple of articles I read last week that I found of interest. Continue reading “A selection of articles on Writing”