Mar 07, 2007
"It Was a Bright Cold Day in April..."
"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dusty from entering along with him."
-- 1984, George Orwell. Chapter 1, paragraph 1.
This is not an original idea, but I've often wanted to do a Balderdash-like exercise in which I paired opening paragraphs from real novels with paragraphs I had just made up, to see if people could guess which ones were published and which ones were not.
Obviously (I hope), I couldn't use this Orwell example, which includes one of the most famous opening lines in English fiction.
Speaking of which:
For proof that you can publish just about anything if someone else already wrote it, check out this book -- ABC: Opening Sentences of Famous Novels. Leon Mazzella is listed as "author" but I wonder if "editor" would be more appropriate.
Jon Winokur has no doubt gotten rich off of his various compilations including Zen to Go, The Portable Curmudgeon, The Portable Curmudgeon Redux, and The Big Curmudgeon. It's a good thing that I read Zen to Go first, else I'd be pretty damned curmudgeonly about Winokur's success in publishing the other three.