Monday, July 11, 2011

The first negative review.

And what then of this so-called book, you gloriously talented English god-among-men, I hear you cry, referring of course to this blog's namesake, the third book in the Oliver Swithin series.

Well, it was finished. Some time ago. The trouble was, it was much too long, necessitating an unplanned round of revisions to try to lose 30,000 words. But with all the disciplined cuts -- including self-indulgent moments of whimsy, irrelevant jokes, and a whole slice of sub-plot -- I only eliminated half of that target. So once more unto the breach . . .  (Starting by ousting every adverb, said he cuttingly.)

Anyway, when Secundus was praising a kid's author for a wam-bam opening, I thought I'd try him on the first paragraph of This Private Plot, which currently reads:

“The odd thing about a banana,” Oliver Swithin mused as he chased the naked policewoman across the moonlit field, “is not that it’s an excellent source of potassium, but that everybody seems to know it is.”

"Do you think you'd want to read on?" I asked.

"Nah," he said. "It sounds like a documentary about bananas."

Hey, I'd read that. I like bananas.

P.S. Best mystery opening lines ever

Runner-up: Raymond Chandler, from the short story "Red Wind."
There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot, dry, Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that, every booze party ends in a fight. Meek, little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen.
Winner: Charlaine Harris, Dead Over Heels
My bodyguard was mowing the yard wearing her pink bikini when the man fell from the sky.

1 comment:

  1. I would read the banana book!

    (KT, in case it logs me as anonymous again)