Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Public service message: all the rest of the ordinary foods that are toxic to dogs

Because I recently registered my puppies, AKC is sending me a monthly newsletter with chatty, informative articles about this and that. Generally I skim those lightly and move on, but this latest one was kind of convenient.

I mean, they are listing a bunch of foods that are perfectly okay, like turkey — wow, that’s a revelation — but I’m skipping all that and just focusing on the foods that are genuinely dangerous to dogs. There are a few more on the list than I’d been aware of. Here’s the whole list:

Chocolate. Everyone knows this. No need to panic over tiny amounts, but you definitely don’t want the dogs getting into a giant bag of bittersweet chocolate chips.

Onions and all the other aliums. I knew that one, but not everyone does, so just a note: don’t feed your dog his own portion of onion rings or you may be dismayed to find you have induced instant kidney failure.

Uncooked eggs. The idea of feeding raw eggs to my dogs totally grosses me out, but it turns out that raw egg whites can also give dogs biotin deficiency. I only knew that because my vet warned me not to give raw egg whites to a picky eater. Not that I would have. Ewww. Cooked eggs are fine, obviously.

Cinnamon. It says here cinnamon “can lower a dog’s blood sugar too much and can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, increased, or decreased heart rate and even liver disease.” I don’t know how much cinnamon that would take, but mental note: do not drop and spill the huge bag of cinnamon sticks I have in the pantry.

Almonds. Apparently dogs don’t digest almonds very well, though this issue looks pretty minor to me. I don’t think I’d worry about almonds much if the dogs got a few. In fact they did last year, come to think of it, when they managed to get a partial bag of almond m&ms off the kitchen island. I came home and they were playing tug with the empty bag. I figured splitting six ounces of m&ms eight ways probably was not dangerous, but it looks like it’s a good thing these were almonds and not some other kinds of nuts, like:

Pecans, walnuts. Toxic, apparently. They can’t be too super-toxic because my little Papillons used to break open whole pecans and eat the nutmeats. Quite a mess as I’d have to clean up the shell fragments. Well, I see googling around that one of the dangers comes from moldy pecans infected by Aspergillus. I can hardly imagine anybody deliberately eating, or letting their dogs eat, moldy pecans. Yuck. Also this though: “[Pecans can] easily develop mold on the shells which contain tremorgenic mycotoxins which lead to seizures, tremors and/or neurological damage to your dog.” Not good. Okay, well, it’ll probably be another 15 years before the pecan tree in the back yard starts bearing nuts, but it’s something to keep in mind, I suppose.

Macadamias. Totally, dangerously toxic. Macadamias “can cause vomiting, increased body temperature, inability to walk, lethargy, and vomiting. Even worse, they can affect the nervous system.” Did you know that? I didn’t know that. Very serious mental note to avoid letting the dogs eat macadamias. Well, I am not a huge macadamia fan anyway.

Looks like that’s the lot! However I will add that my dogs are SO annoying about wanting to eat acorns, which I KNOW are toxic. I can just point at Dora and give her a stern look and she will drop an acorn, because I am constantly telling her not to eat them. I tasted one myself so I know they are bitter. Yet those dogs will break them open and eat the meats. Dratted creatures. Dogs have no sense sometimes. Of course I am most careful with any girl who might be pregnant.

Of course we all know that peanuts are fine for dogs:

I haven’t ever actually made peanut butter popsicles for my dogs, but hey, I see there are plenty of recipes online. Because of course there are.

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Stories where anyone can fly

I’m updating this post from some time ago because new commenter Daniel recently added a whoooollle bunch more examples of stories where ordinary people can fly. As a post recedes in time, regular visitors are much less likely to see new comments on that post. I’m bringing it back into the present so you can all benefit from Daniel’s additions.

So here’s the original post:

There are two kinds of people who can fly: the kind that are born with wings and the kind that gets a pair of wings and then learns to fly.

Although I like stories about both, isn’t it sort of cool to read a story where basically anyone might in theory learn to fly? You, for example, if you happened to walk through the correct portal.

And I don’t mean like in an airplane, even in a world like the one in the Elemental Blessings series by Sharon Shinn.

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No fair if you need to become a test pilot in order to fly.

Wings, not airplanes.

Here are the SFF stories I can think of where people — basically ordinary people — learn to fly.

Windhaven by Lisa Tuttle and George RR Martin. I first read this ages ago, way before GRR Martin was famous, or at least way before I knew his name. I sort of liked it? Or to be more accurate, I liked the part about flying a lot and the part about gritty politics not so much.

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Blue Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. I didn’t really care for the first book, Red Mars. I disliked most of the characters and reading about a failed rebellion, well, not really a lot of fun there. I liked Green Mars the best because I liked the main pov characters much better, the terraforming was all very fascinating, and a successful rebellion yields a far more appealing plot arc. But it’s Blue Mars where the technology for flight develops and is used. It’s not a major element of the book, don’t get me wrong, but it is one of my favorite bits. KSR is really good at description and I can close my eyes and visualize flight.

The Green Sky trilogy by Zipha Keatley Snyder. These were so lovely. Not flawless, but I really enjoyed them when I was a kid. Also, the cover on Goodreads is pretty bad, but the original cover no doubt led me to pick this book up in the first place, because it is also lovely.

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Such beautiful images . . . giant trees, a gentle pastoral life, gliding . . . of course that isn’t quite flying, but close enough, close enough.

The computer game for the Commodor 64 that was based on this trilogy was also deeply charming. First computer game I ever spent a significant amount of time playing. Still the one I think of wistfully. Too bad there doesn’t seem to be a modern version.

Okay, here’s one I haven’t read that I hear is reminiscent of Snyder’s trilogy:

Updraft by Fran Wilde. From the cover, I guess this is a hang glider rather than wings?

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Someday I will read this and enjoy the flight involved, even if people don’t actually have wings.

Okay, and of course one more:

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I never really thought about what other stories involving flight might have helped inspire this book. But, yeah, I’m pretty sure Winghaven and The Green Sky trilogy were in there somewhere.

Now, here are the additional stories added by Daniel:

“Human Levitation: A True History and How-To Manual” by Preston Dennett has accounts of people who have really flown !

“Joseph of Copertino” by Paolo Agelli and Christopher Costanzo is a biography about another of the most famous flying humans in history

“Incidents in my Life” by D. D. Home is an autobiography about one of the most famous flying humans in history

“John and Jeanie Fly: Living the Law of Attraction” by John Waddell is a delightful story of a married couple who one morning they discover that they can fly

“The Flying Yorkshireman” by Eric Knight is a short story of a man who believes he can fly – and then he can

“Levitation” by Randy White is a story about a man who mysteriously discovers the ability to fly

“Lift Off” by Terence Tolman is a Short Story About a Girl Who Can Fly

“The People Could Fly” by Virginia Hamilton, African-American folktale about flying to escape slavery

“The Man Who Knew How To Fly” By Karel Čapek, about a man who can fly until others try to tell him how to do it their way, which causes him to lose his ability (also a video on youtube and vimeo)

“Nikki Powergloves” by David Estes, in which a girl can fly if she wears magical blue gloves

“Going Through the Change” by Samantha Bryant, where a woman becomes lighter than air but learns to control her flight

“The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden: The Night Flyer’s Handbook” by Philippa Dowding, in which a teenage girl has recurring dreams of flying then discovers that she can really fly, spending most of the book enjoying her wonderful gift

“Savana’s Secret” by Sandra C. Addis tells of another teenage girl who discovers that she can fly due to being very light

“Fly Girl” series by by Russ Anderson Jr. about a teenage girl whose Native American grandmother gave her a magic feather giving her the power to fly

“He That Hath Wings” by Edmond Hamilton is an animated story of a boy born with wings who learns to fly

“Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly” by Paul Tremblay and Stephen Graham Jones, a story of a group of teens who have the power to fly, except one, who finds out she has a different ability

“Lisa: Three Girls with Extrordinary ESP Powers” by Ian Berry, about three super-powered teenage girls
“The Man Who Could Fly But Probably Shouldn’t’ve” by H Pattison, about a man who discovers that he can fly, but is often misunderstood

“The Flying Man” by Peter Glassborow, a man who can fly and secretly tries to do good from the air without being seen

“The Flying Boy” by Harrison Parish about a boy who can levitate and do other things, and has mysterious origins

“The Flying Burgowski” by Gretchen Wing in which a teenage girl has recurring dreams of flying then discovers that she can really fly, spending most of the book enjoying her wonderful gift

“The Strange Gift of Gwendolyn Golden: The Night Flyer’s Handbook” by Philippa Dowding, is the story of a teenage girl who wakes up one morning floating on the ceiling, but eventually learns to control her inherited talent of flying

“Flying Girl: Egg and the Hameggattic Sisterhood” by Robert Iannone, where a girl gets a special suit from her grandmother that enables her to fly

“Flying: A Novel” by Carrie Jones, about a cheerleader who discovers that she can fly

“Bizarre New World” by Paul Krutcher, an animated book about a world where everyone has the ability to fly

Also this list at Goodreads: All the winged and flying people your heart desires.

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Here’s something pretty snazzy —

The brand-new JOAN AIKEN FUTURE CLASSICS PRIZE

A.M. Heath and Lizza Aiken, Joan’s daughter, are launching a competition to find a standout new voice in middle grade children’s fiction…. “We are looking for a standout junior novel. It could be contemporary or magical, it could have the makings of a series, or be one crystalline stand-alone. We know we’re setting the bar high. We hope to find a book that will be in print in fifty years, as Joan achieved with the Wolves series – and many other books.”

It was from a commenter here that I found out that Aiken had written more than The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. I’m slowly reading others by her and I guess it will be quite some time before I run out, since she wrote a ton of books.

So, all of you out there who are more widely-read in Middle Grade than I am, this might be something to keep an eye on. However, right at the moment the criteria for entry seem extremely strict:

The Joan Aiken Future Classics Prize is open to un-agented children’s book writers resident in the UK or Ireland … we’d like to see the first 10,000 words PLUS a short description of the book (a few lines) AND a one page outline that shows the spine of the story. Please send this as a Word doc attachment to futureclassics@amheath.com

Unagented writers only? Residents of the UK only? Ooookay, doesn’t look to me that they’re really interested in casting a wide net. Perhaps the prize will morph into something more inclusive in the future.

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Oh, right, that chilling first line —

So you know what I have been doing recently? I have been shelving the physical books I’ve read lately. What a lot of trouble compared to piling them on the floor! I’ve been shifting the contents of those shelves around as necessary to get everything to fit. This is a big and somewhat annoying job, as you might imagine considering I do it only every year or two. Or three. Things I hate: having to decide which books to get rid of. Things I enjoy: taking a close look at my shelves and remembering what’s on them.

This time I happened across a book I searched and searched for when I wrote that post about chilling first lines recently. I didn’t remember the author’s name or the book title, and it turns out I didn’t remember the first line accurately either, so you can see why I couldn’t find it when I looked for it.

The book is Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner. It came out in 2009, which I think is when I read it.

Here is the first line I remembered:

“When I was seven, my father set my baby sister out on the hillside to die.”

That’s not really creepy as such, but it certainly is striking. Here is the real first line:

“I had a sister once.”

As a first line qua first line, that is not very striking and certainly not creepy. You can lose a sister in all kinds of ways, after all. But here’s the whole first page, to set that line in context:

I had a sister once. She was a beautiful baby, eyes silver as moonlight off the river at night. From the hour of her birth she was long-limbed and graceful, faerie-pale hair clear as glass from Before, so pale you could almost see through to the soft skin beneath.

My father was a sensible man. He set her out on the hillside that very night, though my mother wept and even old Jayce argued against it. “If the faerie folk want her, let them take her,” Father said. “If not, the fault’s theirs for not claiming one of their own.” He left my sister, and he never looked back.

I did. I crept out before dawn to see whether the faeries had really come. They hadn’t, but some wild creature had. One glance was all I could take. I turned and ran for home, telling no one where I’d been.

Now, that’s striking. And fairly awful. It certainly sets the tone for the book right away. Dark fantasy, maybe grading into fantasy dystopia – this is probably a fallen world given the mention of “Before.” And so it is – you’ll see how it all works out if you read it. The ending is hopeful, you’ll find, anticipating a brighter world to come, as tends to be the case in YA dystopia.

So that’s the one I was trying and trying to think of. Glad I found it.

According to Goodreads, there are two other books in the series. Maybe now I’ll pick those up.

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If I saw this in a story, I might not believe it

The Wartime Spies Who Used Knitting as an Espionage Tool

DURING WORLD WAR I, A grandmother in Belgium knitted at her window, watching the passing trains. As one train chugged by, she made a bumpy stitch in the fabric with her two needles. Another passed, and she dropped a stitch from the fabric, making an intentional hole. Later, she would risk her life by handing the fabric to a soldier—a fellow spy in the Belgian resistance, working to defeat the occupying German force.

Whether women knitted codes into fabric or used stereotypes of knitting women as a cover, there’s a history between knitting and espionage. “Spies have been known to work code messages into knitting, embroidery, hooked rugs, etc,” according to the 1942 book A Guide to Codes and Signals. During wartime, where there were knitters, there were often spies; a pair of eyes, watching between the click of two needles.

How about that? How very resourceful people are.

This is a long article, but well worth a few minutes to read the whole thing.

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Good News Tuesday

Okay, this week, a couple pretty neat developments in medicine:

Gene Therapy Has Been Used to ‘Switch Off’ Asthma Symptoms

Scientists have used gene therapy to ‘switch off’ the immune response that causes asthma, and are hopeful that the same technique could be used to target other severe allergies to peanuts, bee venom, and shellfish, keeping them at bay for life.

The research, which has so far seen success in animal trials, works by erasing the memory of the cells responsible for causing an allergic reaction, and if replicated in humans, could offer a one-off treatment for allergy patients.

Nice! If it works in other mammals, of course it will work in humans. I hope this moves along at a brisk pace, and I hope the FDA won’t drag its feet too long before approving some techniques for zapping food allergies. I have a direly allergic little cousin-once-removed with terrible, terrible, TERRIBLE food allergies, so much so that he has to live in a virtual bubble because he doesn’t dare even visit a house where there once were peanuts. Can you imagine the constant worry the parents of children with such allergies must live with? Seriously, faster, please!

Also, check this out:

Prostate cancer trial stuns researchers: ‘It’s a once in a career feeling’

“These are the most powerful results I’ve seen from a prostate cancer trial,” said Nicholas James, the lead author of the abstract presented as the American Society of Clinical Oncology. “It’s a once in a career feeling. This is one of the biggest reductions in death I’ve seen in any clinical trial for adult cancers.”

As I’m sure you know, a huge proportion of men eventually develop prostate cancer. Right at the moment, I know two older men who are dealing with it. So, yay! Again, let’s move along with this, please.

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And now for something different . . .

None of this is at all related to writing, but all these links are worth clicking through for their visual beauty:

1. This Sudanese model, Nyakim Gatwech, is just stunning. One can see why she’s nicknamed the Queen of the Dark. She must present a wonderful challenge for photographers.

2. This young ventriloquist doesn’t just speak — she sings. It’s an amazing performance.

3. The photos of ‘Human Fly’ George Willig climbing the World Trade Center are beautiful and intense. Apparently this was an unauthorized stunt and Willig was arrested for causing a disturbance — but in the end charged just a penny per floor.

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Recent Reading: The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis

So, here’s one MG story I’ve been waiting for eagerly: The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart. Mmmmm . . . chocolate! And dragons! Two great things that just might go great together.

I can’t say I ever wondered what it felt like to be human. But then, my grandfather Grenat always said, “It’s safer not to talk to your food” – and as every dragon knows, humans are the most dangerous kind of meal there is.

Aventurine is the fiercest, bravest dragon there is. And she’s ready to prove it to her family by leaving the safety of their mountain cave and capturing the most dangerous prey of all: a human. But when the human she finds tricks her into drinking enchanted hot chocolate, Aventurine is transformed into a puny human girl with tiny blunt teeth, no fire, and not one single claw.

But she’s still the fiercest creature in the mountains — and now she’s found her true passion: chocolate! All she has to do is get herself an apprenticeship (whatever that is) in a chocolate house (which sounds delicious), and she’ll be conquering new territory in no time…won’t she?

As the description above indicates, Aventurine is a very young dragon, too young to be safe out in the wide world. Not studious by nature, she can’t reconcile herself to spending another thirty years stuck in the dragon caverns, learning languages and studying philosophy while she waits for her scales to harden. Eventually, determined to prove her capability in the outside world, she sneaks out . . . whereupon she very quickly runs into a mage who a) introduces her to chocolate to distract her from killing him, and b) turns her into a human girl to make sure she doesn’t eat him after enjoying the chocolate.

The story rolls out from there. Aventurine knows almost nothing at all about human society, other than a few rules of thumb her elders taught her (“Humans always lie” is the primary rule). She also has to keep reminding herself that she isn’t the most ferocious, powerful, dangerous creature in the entire city. But she does have one thing going for her: a passion for learning to make the very, very best chocolate confections in the world . . .

As an apprentice chocolatier, Aventurine has some ups and downs. But she quickly makes friends — Silke is my favorite character in the story – and of course she does know quite a bit more about dragons than the average human, useful when the city finds itself threatened by a bunch of riled-up dragons . . .

Totally charming, anybody who is a fan of both dragons and chocolate needs to give this one a try. Aventurine’s ferocity is delightful. So is Silke’s unorthodox approach to marketing. The human political situation is just realistic enough to make you stamp your feet in outrage – I particularly enjoyed the sly crown princess; good thing clever Silke was there to advise Aventurine – but the pace is fast enough that the reader doesn’t get stuck being outraged for too long. An adult reader is likely to find the story pretty predictable, but thoroughly enjoy it anyway. I’m betting a younger reader is likely to be enthralled from start to finish. And both are going to crave hot chocolate while reading the story – or, if it’s hot outside, maybe chocolate mousse. Or quite possibly both.

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Are you comfortable doing a reading?

Here is a post by Madeleine E. Robins at Book View Cafe: Practice, Practice, Practice: The Art of Reading to an Audience

It caught my eye because I almost never do readings. When I’m filling out a convention survey and checking the little boxes for panels I’m interested in and so on, I firmly check NO under “Are you interested in doing a reading.”

For me it’s not performance anxiety exactly. I am fine with being on a panel or something like that. It is specifically reading out loud that bothers me. I suspect this is not the case for most people because so often people practice reading aloud for years and years as they read to their kids, or maybe to younger siblings. I never had children and my brothers are my age, so yeah, never had that practice.

Anyway, this looks like pretty good practical advice. Also, I will add, when I was up for a reading one time I told Sharon Shinn how uncomfortable I was with it and she gave me very good advice: Go through the selection you plan to read. Read that selection aloud and cross lines out or readjust word choices if it will make the pages sound better when read out loud. I did exactly that, and was surprised how much difference it made.

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How not to start your novel

Here’s a post from Anne R Allen: How Not to Start Your Novel: 6 First Page No-Nos

And here’s the comment thread at The Passive Voice blog.

Here are the nine, not six, openings Allen targets:

1. It was all a dream. I must admit that I would not generally be super-keen on opening with a dream, though that strikes me as far less of a cheat than closing with a dream. And like virtually all other openings, I’m sure a dream can work just fine. But I gather bad opening dream sequences are such a cliche that they turn a lot of agents and editors off.

I wonder if it counts as a dream sequence to start, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again.” I mean, the narrator goes on to describe the dream. I wonder if today agents would wince from an opening like this? It still seems to work just fine for me.

Can anybody think of a more current-day novel that opens with a dream sequence or a reasonable facsimile thereof?

2. The beginning where the story opens and then jumps forward a hundred years or so. Hmm. That is basically a lot of prologues. I mean, that’s one major thing a prologue is for: to open with a scene that takes place before the main story. Label your beginning “Prologue” and there can hardly be any confusion about the timing when you suddenly move forward.

I expect Allen might as well be saying “Don’t open with a prologue,” and of course lots of agents and editors and readers hate prologues on principle, but it depends. A prologue can be perfectly fine. Even one that is set well before the main story. Winter of Ice and Iron opens with a short chapter (three pages, I think) that sets the scene twenty years before the second chapter, and then the third chapter jumps forward another seven years. I fiddled around with the order of the chapters a good deal, and the timing of events, and whether to start with that very short prologue type of chapter, and that’s how it came out. I’ll be interested in seeing if any readers comment. If I did a good job, it should read pretty seamlessly despite the jumps in time.

3. Dead Man Walking. Allen means the kind of opening where the story opens with its focus on one pov character who is then killed and the pov changes over to the real protagonist. I will add that unless I am reading a murder mystery, I hate this kind of opening, especially if I have quickly become emotionally attached to the initial pov character. The SF novel Defenders by Will McIntosh, had this exact kind of opening. We open with a small military unit trying to heroically achieve some kind of objective and then they all get killed and I don’t know what happened next because I DNF at that point. So when I say I really dislike this kind of opening, I mean it.

However, in a murder mystery this kind of beginning is so typical that I don’t even notice it. Mysteries have totally different conventions when it comes to stuff like that. It’s all about not provoking the reader into feeling betrayed, so when genre conventions are different, openings can be different.

4. Nature walks. By this Allen means thorough detailed sensory-loaded scene setting. Which I generally really appreciate.

I hate white-room openings. It’s quite possible to infuse a description-heavy opening with character development. But even if the author doesn’t do this, I am pretty likely to appreciate a descriptive opening. I’m thinking here of Hild by Nicola Griffith. There’s a very description-heavy beginning. Totally works, at least for me. That was my favorite novel of all the ones I read that year.

5. Robinson Crusoes. Here’s what Allen says about this: “Your protagonist is sitting on a plane, or driving a car or lying in bed on Disney Princess sheets…and musing about stuff. She’s thinking about the dragon she just killed, or who she’s going to meet at the mall, or recapping the catastrophe she’s escaping from. But nothing happens on the page. There is no interaction with other characters, so nothing happens.”

That is all very well, but the novel I always think of first when I hear this “rule” is The Breach by Patrick Lee. It opens with a guy driving and thinking and then, whoa, nonstop ride from there. But the opening is slow, thoughtful, and extremely well done.

6. History lessons. Okay, here I pretty much agree. I personally really dislike prologues that are history lessons, the kind that dump all the worldbuilding on top of the reader in one solid brick. Really awful — for me, at least. Anne Bishop did this in her “Others” series and I hated it there and pretty much skipped over it so I could start the story. Peter Jackson did this with the opening of the LotR movies and I actually hated it there, too, and would gladly fast-forward through all the history-lesson part if other viewers didn’t object too vociferously.

Pretty sure no one is going to think of an example of this kind of opening that works for me. But how about you, does this kind of opening work for you?

8. Crowd scenes. Allen says “Lots of new writers are led astray by the rule that you should start a book “in media res” (literally, “in the middle of things”.) So they start the story in the middle of the battle between the Trolls and the Orcs and we see four different hand-to hand combats going on and gallons of spurting blood and we have no idea who to root for because all these people are so frenzied, and awful things are happening to every one of them and…who is this story about, anyway? As I said above, every story needs ONE protagonist. Yes, books can be about groups, but one of them has to be the hero.”

This is an interesting comment because (a) I kind of keep thinking I prefer novels where there is just one main hero, but (b) there are so many counter examples that I can’t honestly say that is even a vague rule, and (c) I generally put two or more equally important protagonists in each of my books, which only goes to show.

Honestly, I think Allen should have stopped after her (quite accurate imo) comment about opening with a complicated battle scene.

9. As-You-Know-Bob openings. Allen is maintaining here that opening with dialogue is tricky because of a tendency to try to work in too much clumsy workbuilding via that dialogue. I wouldn’t know. I actually can’t think of any examples of this kind of opening. If you can, feel free to drop an example in the comments.

I must admit I like the comment thread at the Passive Voice better than the original post, which is why I linked to it above. Here is the most on-point comment:

#2 is pretty much the norm in most popular novels I read; even Lee Childs typically spends 500-1000 words establishing the setting before Jack Reacher beats someone up. But it has to be description that’s relevant to the character and situation, not just the writer typing every detail they think up.

If anything, I’m more likely to drop a book because it throws me straight into characters I know nothing about in a setting I know nothing about.

#4 is basically the summary opening, where you start with the world and zoom in to the character. Which works fine so long as you keep it interesting and short.

So I think the point is not that those are bad ways to start a story, but that they’re easy for new writers to do badly.

And of course that is true. Several commenters pointed out that instead of prescriptive and proscriptive rules, what works better is providing good and bad examples of various types of openings. I agree, so that is what I tried to do above, though I couldn’t think of examples for just everything.

I suggest that if you’re interested in what works and what doesn’t work and what agents consider cliched in story openings and all that, you check out Kristen Nelson’s series on story openings to avoid. Here is part six with links to parts 1-5.

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