My personal notes:
Blogger once again did not publish my pre-scheduled blog on Monday, so I had to tweak the darned thing to get my post out there. Probably happened again this morning.
Then I was attacked by a vicious mosquito as I diligently pulled weeds from around my lavender plants. Now I will fret about West Nile Virus for goodness knows how long.
My reading report:
I just completed the ARC for Barbara Fleming’s Journeying, to be released in August 2009. More on that in late July when I feature Barbara on my Colorado Author Monday.
Am now reading the new Lomax & Biggs mystery, Flipping Out, by Marshall Karp. I won this one. Free. And it came signed. And it had a lovely note inside from Marshall, encouraging me to tell the world if I love the book. I can only tell you, if it’s anything like The Rabbit Factory and Bloodthirsty, I reckon you’ll all be getting a book review soon.
And now for today’s blog:
Haven’t you heard that advice a few times–Don’t open your novel with the weather?
Well, I have a lot of books around my house, and I knew there would be some with opening sentences about the weather, so I did a little search. I didn’t bother with first-time authors, but went for the big guys, the ones who’ve been around and can pretty much write what they want the way they want to write it. Here’s what I found:
“The first week after Labor Day, after a summer of hot wind and drought that left the cane fields dust blown and spiderwebbed with cracks, rain showers once more danced across the wetlands, the temperature dropped twenty degrees, and the sky turned the hard flawless blue of an inverted ceramic bowl.”
…..James Lee Burke, Last Car to Elysian Fields: A Dave Robicheaux novel (Simon & Schuster, 2003)
Whew, long sentence, Mr. Burke. But nice. Very nice.
“The morning air off the Mohave in late winter is as clean and crisp as you’ll ever breathe in Los Angeles County.”
…..Michael Connelly, The Lincoln Lawyer (Warner Books, 2005)
Personally, I’ve never experienced that in LA County, but I’ll take Mr. Connelly’s word for it.
“It was sullen and gusty and snowing like hell when I went to see Grace.”
…..Robert B. Parker, All Our Yesterdays (Delacorte Press, 1994)
I’m already wondering why seeing Grace was so important that the character had to go out in that kind of weather.
“A nasty squall had blown across Pitts Bay earlier in the day, the wind tossing sheets of water against the landmark pink facade of the famed Hamilton Princess Hotel.”
…..Margaret Truman, Murder at Union Station: A Capital Crimes Novel (Ballentine Books, 2004)
Hmmm. I haven’t read Margaret Truman lately. Maybe I’ll make that one next up on my list.
So what does this tell you? First, if you’re observant, you’ll notice I’m way behind in my reading, because these are older books, and I tend to give unsigned books away after I’ve read them. More on the topic, however, you’ll see that weather can provide a convenient way to identify the story’s setting and set the first scene. I know some agents and editors don’t like manuscripts that open with weather. I don’t understand why. Any thoughts on that?