Wednesday’s Words – Concealed

Writer's MindOMGWTFBBQ! Yesterday was release day for CONCEALED IN DEATH, the latest addition to the Eve Dallas/In Death series. I opened it up on my Kindle while waiting in line at the post office. And seriously considered letting people go in front of me so I could continue reading.

While “conventional wisdom” varies, an author has a very limited time to catch and keep a new reader’s attention. Hence, the importance of having a killer opening–and not just in Romantic Suspense. 😉 A writer has to know *WHERE* the story should start, and use language that will intrigue, entice, seduce, or simply grab the reader. There are online classes and panels at almost every writers conference dealing with this subject.

Well, I’m here to tell you that LaNora definitely got it right with this book.

Neglect could kill a building brick by brick. It was, to his mind, more insidious than hurricane or earthquake as it murdered slowly, quietly, not in rage or passion, but with utter contempt.

Or perhaps he was being a bit lyrical about a structure that had served no purpose other than housing rats and junkies for more than a dozen years.

But with vision, and considerable money, the old building, sagging its shoulders in what had once been Hell’s Kitchen, would stand strong again, and with purpose.

Roarke had vision, and considerable money, and enjoyed using both as he pleased.**

Okay. Maybe it’s just me but the language on that first page jerked me upright, gave me a Gibb’s Slap(tm), and then stared at me with a raised eyebrow. Meanwhile, Iffy wanted to know why the hell I don’t string words together like that. I’m workin’ on it!

Quite frankly, I want to be Nora Roberts writing as JD Robb when I grow up.

Do you have a favorite opening in your work or a book you love? And how long do you give an author when you start a book? I’m not talking about a beloved author who you’ll read everything and anything, but a new-to-you author. Happy Hump Day!

**Excerpt from CONCEALED IN DEATH, Penguin Group, (c)2014 Nora Roberts

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About Silver James

I like walks on the wild side and coffee. Lots of coffee. Warning: My Muse runs with scissors. Author of two award-winning series--Moonstruck and The Penumbra Papers, Red Dirt Royalty (Harlequin Desire) & other books! Purveyor of magic, mystery, mayhem and romance. Lots and lots of romance.
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9 Responses to Wednesday’s Words – Concealed

  1. Liza says:

    It was waiting for me on my kindle when I woke up yesterday. Started right before I went to bed…never a good thing. Was in the middle of a Jessuca Scott book, so had to finish it before I let myself read new Eve/Roarke.

    I love the openings to both To Kill a Mockingbird and The Outsiders so much. Of ourselves they are bothin my top 5 favorite books ever, but still pull me in from the beginning.

    • Silver James says:

      I know! I read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open last night. I have the feeling this is going to be one of her best In Death yet!

      Ooh! I haven’t read either of those in ages and ages but yes, even now I remember the openings.

  2. Janet says:

    Openings are so important for a ‘new-to-me’ author – I need them to convince me the journey will be worth it! But, I will hang on for at least 100 pages before I abandon the book.

    And as an aspiring author, I know the importance of that opening page – that’s what’s going to get a request for more (since most agencies are now suggesting that the first page be included at the bottom of a query letter – which I think is a very good idea). Important to remember, though, the rest of the book has to live up to that first page!

    • Silver James says:

      I think that’s one reason beginning authors never finish a book, Janet. They can’t get past the opening. I know for me, even now, if I haven’t found the right place to start, I struggle with the book. Usually, I push through to the end and then in revisions, figure out where I messed up and get things in the proper order.

      Huh…it’s been awhile since I queried so didn’t know about the first page. Good idea but man, the pressure! *shudder* But it does make sense. An author’s voice needs to be apparent from the very beginning.

  3. Ah, there’s the rub. Finding just the right place to start and then taking that place and making it awesome. La Nora obviously has the gift. But it seems like all the advice on how to find that place conflicts. Start with action, don’t start with action. Don’t begin with too much description, make sure the world is well-described. :shrug: I muddle through, hope I find the right spot, and balance on the sword’s edge. It’s maddening.

    Since most new to me authors are ones I read on the Kindle, they usually get 1-2% (rather than x-number of pages) before i give up. If they show promise but I’m just not in the mood, I set them aside for a try again later. If they don’t, I delete them off the device. (If they’re really bad, I go into Amazon and delete them entirely so they can never darken my Kindle again – but that’s rare.)

    • Silver James says:

      It is maddening. One panel I attended at a conference was geared toward suspense/thrillers but the panelist gave RL examples, using OJ and Scott Peterson cases. I was like OMG! *muppet flail* when he was done. I may do a post on it one of these days so I’m not going to post a spoiler, *ducks and runs*

      Sometimes, I really think you have to write the whole book before you can figure out the right place to start–to decide what is backstory to layer in later, and just what trigger event sets up the whole story. It’s an art, definitely!

  4. Erika C says:

    The opening line of Nicholas Evans book The Horse Whisperer is, “There was death at its beginning, as there would be death again at its end.”

    Who writes like that? I love his stuff although, this is my favorite book, one day when I grow up I want to be able to think of stuff like that this too.

  5. Popping in for a minute CONGRATS on your HQ news!
    This aspiring writer always takes so much from your writing advice- thank you
    all!
    Weekend is almost here!!
    Hope LG is doing better!

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