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review 2018-01-15 04:07
Great Beginnings
Great Beginnings: Opening Lines of Great Novels - Georgianne Ensign

A compendium of opening paragraphs from great literature, I see this as a great reference for future trivia games, and Jeopardy re-runs, but any authors/aspiring writers might view it as an interesting exploration of styles.

 

Ensign breaks the sections up by categorising the opening paragraphs: "Once Upon a Time" are literary openers that use First Person, or the Witness as a storyteller; "Setting the Setting" includes those opening paragraphs that immediately set the scene, the time, or use the weather to get the reader immediately involved.  My favorite was the chapter called "Brevity Doesn't Count" - listing opening sentences that are 100+ words long and themselves their own paragraphs.    Not because I like long, drawn out sentences that last forever, but because I can't help but laugh - usually about midway through - and think Breathe!.

 

Each section is very briefly introduced by the author with quick but insightful comments about the effective use of each device.  Moderately interesting in itself, but possibly better thought of as a reference.

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