FIVE for FRIDAY: FIRST LINES

As a writer, half the battle of capturing your reader’s attention is won or lost in the first line. Capture their interest– hook them– and they’ll accord you extra time to do the things you need to do. Provide a bland or boring opening, and you’d better have an explosion arriving real quick, because there’s a new episode of Duck Dynasty on the tube and someone’s cooking sausages.

(Of course, you can take my advice for what it’s worth by noting that the greatest play ever written starts with the first line, “Who’s there?”)

Over the course of my career I’ve written some cracking opening lines (if I do say so myself) and some that have done little more than provide the literary equivalent of lobbing the ball over the next just so the other player can return serve.

Here are five of my best.

Five for Friday: First Lines

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PRECIOUS THINGS: AMANDA KOOL

Amanda Kool lives at the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, a glorious part of the world surrounded by valleys, forests, walking paths and, most importantly, she says, wineries.

She writes in a little nook at the bottom of the house, closed off by a deep red curtain (her very own Black Lodge). In the summer, this is the only room in the house that is not in danger of combusting due to the sheer ambient heat.

Surrounded by the paraphernalia of whatever book she is writing (various tchotchkes, gewgaws, spirits, liqueurs, books, food stuffs and weaponry), she sits at her desk with a pot of freshly brewed tea and…according to her, procrastinates, avoids, trembles, and swears.

Despite all that avoidance, she’s seen her debut novel Tallwood published, as well as The paper Fox, an interactive story for IOS devices, and a bunch of other tales. Here, she takes us to a place familiar and intimate, and yet somehow all her own.

Precious Things: Amanda Kool

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FIVE for FRIDAY: RIGHT OF REPLY

Last week, I discussed Ms 15’s discovery of the The Beatles, and compared it to my own teenage awakening. In a guest post, she revealed her favourite 5 Beatles songs, and why:

  1. Here Comes the Sun
  2. Oh! Darling!
  3. I Am the Walrus
  4. Hey, Jude
  5. Let it Be

By way of reply, and to pay her back for usurping 2 of the songs I would have chosen for my list, it’s only right that I list my own favourites, in no particular order.

Five for Friday: My Own Favourite Beatles Songs

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PRECIOUS THINGS: DAMIAN MAGEE

Damian Magee is, quite simply, one of the loveliest people alive. A gentle librarian with glasses and a moustache that would send Professor Challenger into fits of envy, his softly-spoken demeanour, air of general gentility and love of all things Sherlockian seem almost old-worldly when surrounded by the gauche flashiness of much of science fiction fandom, wherein he spends most of his off hours.

Here, as befits his bibliophilic stature, he gives us not one Precious Literary possession, but a quartet.

Precious Things: Damian Magee

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