Saturday, December 8, 2018

Jay Gertzman's Three Stunning Opening Sentences from Three Masters



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Below are opening paragraphs from 3 very different writers:
HORROR, MADNESS, MYSTERY
“I was an old man, but I died hard. It isn’t easy to die. Not even in your own bed. It’s a hell of a lot harder, writhing soundlessly in a fiery mist, seeing it coming and trying to yell until the heat gets to you for good. After that you still fight it, writing like a beetle, long after you don’t know any more.
It wasn’t easy to die that way, but I did, and laughed all the time….”
Goodis, “Never Too Old to Burn,” New Detective, 1949
SOMETIMES I WISH I WERE HIM
“My first hit was a politician. Major League. I was 24, and felt a hundred. Not the cleanest job. Nearly cost me another contract. … My story travels. It has mileage. It exposes a lot of lies at the top of the tree. Lies that affect you and me. Lies that the people who govern us tell us, while they save their skins and burn our money.”
Richard Godwin, Confessions of a Hit Man, 2014
SHOWING THE READER HIS PLACE IN THE NOVEL
“You pick up a book and read about things and stuff, getting a vicarious kick from people and events that never happened. You’re doing it now, getting ready to fill in a normal life with the details of someone else’s experiences. Fun, isn’t it?  You read about life on the outside thinking of how maybe you’d like it to happen to you, or at least how you’d like to watch it. . . . Oh, it’s great to watch all right. Life through a keyhole.”
Mickey Spillane, My Gun Is Quick, 1950


Copyright © 2018 Jay Gertzman, All rights reserved. 

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