I was on a long hiatus when Booking Through Thursday posted this great idea:
Pick up the nearest book. Turn to page 123. What is the first sentence on the page? The last sentence on the page? Now . . . connect them together...
I think it would be even more interesting to juxtapose the first and last sentences of some books. Just don't do it with a book you haven't read, if you don't want to spoil the ending!
Here's a sample of my results using the first-plus-last method and some completely random selections (read and to-be-read) from my bookshelves:
When I hear the sea wind blowing through the streets of the city in the morning, I can still feel my father and the Old One --together-- lifting me up to perch on the railing of the swaying deck; still feel the steady weight of Father's palm braced against my chest and Poh-Poh's thickly jacketed arm locked safely around my legs.
+ We watched as ramp C was locked into place.
(Wayson Choy, All That Matters)
Someone once described a fiction writer as someone who, as a child, told a lie and found it good.
+ Now sit down, and get to work.
(Peter Selgin, By Cunning & Craft: sound advice and practical wisdom for fiction writers)
+ But both can hear clearly that on the east side of the island and on the west side, the waters were still.
(Gloria Naylor, Mama Day)
If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.
+ The car drove further and further away, until Justice Strauss was merely a speck in the darkness, and it seemed to the children that they were moving in a very aberrant-the word "aberrant" here means "very, very wrong and causing much grief"--direction.
(Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning)
Okay that last one wasn't random, I just couldn't resist. I think combining first and last sentences is a pretty good story starter, particularly if you haven't read the complete book and you then try to join them up by writing the story that falls between.
If you like first sentences, I have a toy for you. Near the bottom of my blog there is a Twitterlit widget that reports the first sentences of newly published books.
Labels: BTT, Writing