Monday, 23 June 2014

Somewhere In-between by Donna Milner

Virgil Blue came with the land.

A short opening line is always a draw, as long as they introduce an unusual plot point that suggests character and conflict. I think this line does both. The next line and rest of paragraph:

Along with two draft horses, four cow-ponies, one hundred range cattle and a barn full of haying equipment, keeping the reclusive tenant, who occupied the old trapper's cabin on the six-hundred-acre ranch, was a non-negotiable condition of sale.

Here there is setting introduced, but not merely as descriptive filler, it's introduced in a way that connects to the initial conflict that opens the story: In order to buy this ranch the protagonists kind of have to let some old guy live with them.

The opening scene begins with the next paragraph, still on page 1, at a Tim Horton's as a real estate agent tries to sell the idea of an old trapper living on the land the protagonists are buying. Conflict continues to evolve as the wife watches her husband get deceived into thinking this is a good idea as it is his dream and not hers.

First thing said:

"You won't even know the old guy's there."

This opening offers a nice balanced mix of character, conflict, setting, an unusual situation together with some good writing.

Verdict: Cool (4 stars)

Theodore Moracht

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