Clever Chapter Endings

I’m procrastinating again and not writing. Rather than simply finding cliffhanger endings, I’ve looked at the last paragraphs of chapters in my stash (on Kindle) where I wanted to read on (I’m physically limited so I can only access e-books).

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End of Chapter 3

“The whole shack shivered and Harry sat bolt upright, staring at the door. Someone was outside, knocking to come in.”

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End of Prologue.

“The broken sword fell from nerveless fingers. Will closed his eyes to pray. Long, elegant hands brushed his cheek, then tightened around his throat. They were gloved in the finest moleskin and sticky with blood, yet the touch was icy cold.”

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End of II

” ‘I’ve heard that voice before’ said Holmes, staring down the dimly lit street. ‘Now, I wonder who the deuce that could have been.’ ”

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The first chapter titled ‘The End’

“The water came up to meet him. It hit him in the side like a charging bull, punched the air out of his lungs, knocked the sense out of his head, sucked him in and down into the cold darkness…”

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End Chapter 4

“All of the pieces are still fitting together, but I sense he has a plan forming. He hasn’t accepted his death. He is already fighting. Which also means that kind Peeta Mellark, the boy who gave me the bread, is fighting hard to kill me.”

Just a few this time, I had the help of a carer yesterday with physical books. Maybe I can ask if you can suggest a favourite and help build my list?

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First sentences from my stash

I began an exercise today in taking note of how authors began their book, to see what it was about a first sentence that engaged a reader. Interesting results, so I thought I’d share them from my eclectic collection (not all, just ones that grabbed me). Here they are (book cover first, then first sentence from that book):

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“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

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“This book is largely concerned with Hobbits, and from its pages a reader may discover much of their character and a little of their history.”

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” ‘We should start back,’ Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them. ‘The wildlings are dead.'”

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“It was an odd-looking vine.”

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“”When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.”

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“Rek was drunk.”

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“I awake every morning with ink on my hands.”

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“The woman struggled through the knee-deep snow, the bundle of dead wood she had tied to her back almost as great a burden as the weight of the child in her belly.”

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“She came out of the store just in time to see her young boy playing on the sidewalk directly in the path of the grey, gaunt man who strode down the centre of the walk like a mechanical derelict.”

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“In the hall of light, they reminded her of her destiny.”

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“I’d never given much thought to how I would die…”

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“Miss Alexia Tarabotti was not enjoying her evening.”

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“Dear Diary,

Something awful is going to happen today.

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“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

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“Stealing eggs is a lot harder than stealing the whole chicken.”

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“Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler’s pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal light is you have to die.”

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“I felt her fear before I heard her screams.”

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“To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman.”

Post your favourite line in the comments.

Point of View

I never had any doubt, for years I have written (on and off) my fantasy novel in third person. Then, suddenly, doubt barged in. I began The Shifter by Janice Hary and she writes first person so well I instantly wondered, “Is this how I can best tell my story?”

So, I went to a worldwide fantasy forum for their advice. I received excellent advice and one member taught me a neat trick. Write in first person to get in the head of my character then turn that into third person. The result? I feel more emerged in what’s happening to my character. This was exactly what I needed. Stellar advice.

P.S. The West Wing taught me another speech beat this week – trochee, so DUM dee 🙂

10 Minute Challenge

This week’s writing challenge required a stolen ring, a sinister stranger and a fear of spiders. Instantly, I thought Lord of the Rings. Go figure! This is my effort:

On her way home from high school, a few doors from home, Gail paused on the footpath and shuddered. A few spider webs were baseball-plate size Christmas lights between the two storey trees ahead. The silhouette of palm-sized spiders were a bullseye in each web. She dreaded this part of her daily walk. In fact, she hated living on this street. Oh, how she hated her life.

A van pulled up beside her. A hooded guy got out and approached her. This was the worst day of her life. Seriously. Are you kidding me? First, she had to go home and confess to her mother someone stole her Grandmother’s ring. The one she borrowed on the weekend. Must’ve been during her sport period. Second, she faced these spiders. Third, this guy looked dodgy. Super dodgy. Could her day get worse?

She screamed.

A shrill scream. A blood-curdling scream.

Not looking back, she bolted for home.

Despite her fear of spiders.

Before she reached the first spider, the man raised his voice, “Don’t be scared! I just wanted directions to a petrol station.”

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I’m bingeing on The West Wing for the purpose of paying particular attention to the dialogue they used (which is brilliant, even third time around) and, dammit, the story draws me in every time and I forget why I’m watching! Shoot, I have a purpose!

Emily Procter was commented (in the show) as speaking in iambic pentameter. Now, I’ve heard of iambic pentameter but I’ve never actually looked into it. So this comment on The West Wing lead me down a magical hole and into exploring iambic pentameter. I learned it is a particular rhythm to speech and has 8 beats. Da Dum Da Dum Da Dum Da Dum. There is a wave of lows followed by highs. The most famous person who wrote iambic pentameter was Shakespeare, although he’s not alone by far

“What light through yonder window breaks?” Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2

A beat of the drum falls on each syllable. Truly fascinating. Love it. Watching West Wing for dialogue has taught me something about the rhythm of speech.

They also had an episode based on the Don Henley song New York Minute. What a song. Check it out on YouTube here. Beautiful chilling lyrics, don’t I know it!

GRATITUDE

Please read

BROKEN BUT NOT BEATEN

When we think of gratitude, many of us think of it as simply ‘being thankful’. Thankful to someone for what they have done for us. But gratitude is so much more complex than that. Gratitude is about feeling and expressing appreciation for everything we’ve been given and all that we have (big or small).

It’s important to realise that nearly all experiences have both “positive” and “negative” components. The more painful the experience, the harder it can be to find the positives. But there are always positives; you just need to look for them.

An attitude of gratitude means making it a habit to express thankfulness and appreciation on a regular basis. For some people it is a personality trait, meaning that it comes naturally. For others it takes work but with practice everyone can develop an attitude of gratitude. Living with an attitude of gratitude will help you have…

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The Secret in the Garden

Sorry, been short on inspiration and time but recently managed this:

 

The handball bounced high toward the tangled, draped fingers of ivy covering the dark green bushes near the fence-line of Bruce’s long backyard.

“I’ll get it!” cried eleven-year-old Matt, shoving his mate out of the way as he bolted after the ball.

Bruce, the same age, sprung after the ball and yelled, “No, you won’t, I will!” On the run, he practised a jumping side kick that sent Matt into the concrete near the house. Their very own makeshift “court”.

Matt leapt to his feet and ignored blooming red grazes on his leg as he tore after Bruce. “You cheater!”

Bruce stopped at the bushes to see the ball under them. He crouched low. His arm stretched through sticky cobwebs for the red ball but it lay a good yard away – just out of reach. With one hand-sweep, he pushed the cobwebs aside. With the other, he tried to reach in again. A growl stopped him mid-reach. His spine shuddered. He yanked his outstretched hand to his lap. Matt arrived him in time to hear the bushes rumble. The ball rolled out of sight.

“What’s that noise?” Matt asked in a small voice. He pushed his black-frame glasses over the bump of his once-broken nose.

“We need our ball. I’m going in,” said Bruce.

“Don’t. You don’t know what’s there,” countered Matt.

“You’re just saying that because I’m beating you,” said Bruce. “I want to win.” He reefed the vines aside. Then he got on all fours and crawled over the damp earth under the bushes by the back fence.

A distorted shadow slid in the space between Bruce and the ball. Bruce froze. His eyes remained planted on the shadow but he glimpsed a blur in his peripheral vision as Matt scooted for the back door, shoulders before his feet.

The darkness launched for Bruce and, in a split second, he contemplated running or staying to fight.

Bruce raised his arms ready to attack but the shadow had no respect for any civilized rules of engagement, something Bruce discovered the hard way. Bruce panicked. The shadow slipped through his guard and funneled up his nostrils while he gagged. A year of training had never prepared Bruce how to fight for possession of his body. Confusion engulfed him. After the evil gained control of his body, it turned to his soul.

With ease his consciousness was pushed aside, as though this thing was practiced at stealing body and soul, and inside Bruce’s mind he shrank from the invading evil. Terror filled Bruce in the portion of his mind he was cornered. The evil sought dominion of his mind until only a teeny portion of Bruce survived and the evil engorged him. A triumphant leech.

By the time possession of his body and soul was complete, the back fly screen burst open and Matt raced toward him with Bruce’s mum close behind.

Bit-by-bit a smile filled his face and the new-Bruce flexed his hands and ran them through his flaxen hair while blue eyes turned black with a pleasurable, evil twinkle. He picked up the ball, left the garden and yelled, “I have it!”

Sustenance, come to me.