Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Whiteface & Passaconaway...and an Elusive Sentence

Forgive me for not posting sooner today but my head is else- where. As the winter winds down and our peak-bagging goals are far out of reach I find myself thinking less as a hiker and more as a writer. Today Atticus and I hiked Whiteface and Passaconaway under beautiful blue skies and moderate temperatures.

All-in-all a most pleasant day other than the jumble of words bouncing around in my head. I’ve been working on a book proposal and while the opening chapter is going well, the opening paragraph is proving to be difficult for me.

I’ve always been a fan of a good opening sentence, knitted with other good sentences to create a great opening. I’ve been known to spend an hour or so in a bookstore scanning opening sentences to books in a hunt for a good read.

Some examples:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

“I am an invisible man.” Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

"In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a Hobbit-hole, and that means comfort." J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

"A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head." - John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces