Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Answers: The Opening Hook Contest

"Opening hooks" being important may be a given, but I think my contest sort of showed how similar opening hooks are, regardless of genre.  I picked the pieces included because they hooked me.  With my fantasy leanings, that may have created some bias.  However, I don't think the editors for The Atlantic Fiction 2010 shared my bias.  For the record, the other selections came from P. N. Elrod's collection of short stories, Strange Brew.

Sorry if any of you thought the contest was too hard.  I didn't mean for it to be a MFA qualifier.

The Answers:

A ... "This morning, in the dark, my neck sore from sleeping in my son's room ..."  --  Literary --  Ryan Mecklenburg: Hopefulness, Atlantic.  I thought the beginning had the feel of commercial fiction when he mentioned the neighbors and their sons avoiding the street lights.

B ...  "My body hit the wooden floor with a loud thud."  -- Fantasy -- Jenna Maclaine:  Dark Sins, Strange Brew.  The witch had problems controlling more than her magic in this cute story.

C ...  "Hattie met him behind the dye vats, and me, I was forced to come along." -- Literary -- Katie Williams:  Bone Hinge, Atlantic.  The problems of being a conjoined twin when you start dating.

D ...  "Howell was still on the lam." -- Literary  --  Jerome Charyn:  Lorelei, Atlantic.  The piece started off similar to a mystery, but had some interesting table turnings to follow.

E ...  "The pounding began at 2:11 A.M. and continued until I hauled my weary ass out of bed."  --  Fantasy --  The story starts out with students turning their "martial arts/magic" lessons on their teacher and ends with establishing the rules of a relationship after the battles are fought.

What's the difference between commercial and literary fiction?  I'm sure I don't know.  All the pieces were good stories that held my attention.  Of course, if you want to be difficult you could say all the stories were commercial because they sold.  Maybe I'll have to retreat to my "snobbery" distinction.  On the other hand, I don't think I care.  I'll read a good story regardless of genre -- if I fall over it.

Progress ...  I've rewritten about a third (I think) of Kaffy Anne.  How much I have left to do depends on how much of what I had previously written lands in the junk pile.  Was rather please when, after all the foreshadowing, the first ghost appears on cue (at about a third of the way through the book).

Trivia ...  I'm having some minor surgery on Wednesday, and will be taking off a week to write and read stuff I don't have to report on.

Oh, the winner.
Pat Stoltey.
She got all the answers write.  I hope she likes Strange Brew as much as I did.

PS:  The family book exchange sent Changes, the new Harry Dresden just in time to keep me amused.
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