Friday, 7 February 2014
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
Preamble in the guise of foreshadowing wastes time. The paragraph ends with:
...she could see it. Hear it. Feel it happening.
This reminds me of an elementary school exercise I did in foreshadowing - the most obvious kind. Basically, this opening tells us that there is something happening, as there should be in all novels, yet refuses to tell us, so as to make us keep reading. That type of opening doesn't hook me; it bugs me. Does this effectively create suspense or just waste time by beating around the bush? You decide. I've chosen the second. This is preamble, telling us that there is awesome conflict instead of showing us what it is.
Fortunately by paragraph 2 we learn what could not possibly be happening, which could have been the first paragraph and would have made for a more powerful beginning instead of watering it down with preamble and introduction. Unfortunately, what could not possibly be happening is happening in a car.
First thing said:
"It's all right."
This is a character talking to herself and doesn't reveal anything about the character that makes me want to care.