Monday, 3 March 2014

We Are Water by Wally Lamb

"I understand there was some controversy about the coroner's ruling concerning Josephus Jones's death."

Some writing experts say that beginning with dialogue is not a good idea. I can understand where they're coming from. Their argument is that the reader can't navigate through the speakers and understand who is saying what, why, or where. If the dialogue is superfluous blabbering then I agree, but if what is being said establishes conflict and is pithy, then I see no problem with it. This first line, though beginning a prologue, introduces a character, a death and a question regrading it. In other words, it gets straight to the point, raises questions and therefore hooks.

The rest of the first paragraph follows thus:

"What do you think, Mr. Agnello? Did he die accidentally or was he murdered?"

Chapter 1:

Viveca's wedding dress has a name: Gaia.

This opening line is unusual enough to attract attention and keep the reader reading. It stands out, not only as an opening line, but it would stand out even it were buried deep in a chapter with long woolly paragraphs. Unusual sentences which express unusual ideas, like clothes having names is usually effective in revealing odd characters that fascinate us. Though, reading on, this line implies something different.

Verdict: Definite Pass

Rudy Globird

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