Get as much detail into your opening sentence as possible


No more than three feet away from Julius (but certainly more than two feet away; perhaps thirty inches – or, in the system preferred by Helen, Julian’s wife, of whom more later, seventy-six point two centimetres – although needless to say, it seemed less) a dog which seemed to be a cross between a doberman and some kind of beagle – its appearance certainly seemed to fit the original meaning of the Old French word “beegueule” (literally, open-mouthed) from which “beagle” is derived – was barking in the key of E-flat and pawing the air in a way which, had there been an invisible miniature piano beneath its claws, might have produced a melody not dissimilar to a free jazz composition of the early sixties or, more likely, a discordant jumble of sharps and flats which, had this been the case rather than being merely a fanciful possibility (which is what it was), would have put Julius’ teeth on edge in a way which the dog’s barking, in the absence of the more musical set of noises just touched upon, was already managing to do.

13 comments:

  1. Oh my god... that's how my mind works, and then I have to take out the extraneous information so that people can understand what the hell I'm trying to say...

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  2. You never fail to make me laugh.

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  3. Reminds me of Theodore Dreiser.

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  4. The sad thing? I would totaly read that. I think you did too good of a job on this one.

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  5. That made my head hurt. Excellent job!

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  6. I'm hooked, where's it gonna go next?

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  7. It's like A Tale of Two Cities, except without all that pesky command of the English language.

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  8. I have to admit, I would not be able to resist reading more.

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  9. Of course, the most famous example of this is the opening to Bulwer-Lytton's PAUL CLIFFORD:

    "It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

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  10. And Johnny's post raises the question: are you going to submit this to the annual Bulwer Lytton fiction contest (http://www.bulwer-lytton.com)?

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  11. Reads like DFW to me. Too soon?

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  12. The longest opening sentence I ever seen.

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