When I typed them up, I didn’t expect them to have anything in common. I was surprised by how IMMEDIATELY each (with one possible exception) creates a feeling, world, atmosphere. Some do it by the end of the first sentence; it takes others a paragraph,but they all put you right into the story. To me, each also has an air of authority, of confidence, even inevitability. THIS, the author seems to just know, this exact moment, is where this story starts.
How the authors achieve this I don’t know – I’m going to think about it and if I can figure it out, say next week. But for now, I’d really like to know how other people react to these – not to the books themselves, but to their beginnings. So I hope you'll say which ones (if any!) made you want to go on reading.
The woman put her sad moon-face in the window of the car. “You be good,” she said. “You hear me? You little ones, mind what Dicey tells you. You hear?”
It was dusk – winter dusk. Snow lay white and shining over the pleated hills, and icicles hung from the forest trees. Snow lay piled on the dark road across Willoughby Wold, but from dawn men had been clearing it with brooms and shovels. There were hundreds of them at work, wrapped in sacking because of the bitter cold, and keeping together in groups for fear of the wolves, grown savage and reckless from hunger.
Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids. They were sent to the house of an old Professor who lived in the heart of the country, ten miles from the nearest railway station and two miles from the nearest post office.
Brian Robeson stared out the window of the small plane at the endless green northern wilderness below. It was a small plane, a Cessna 406 – a bushplane – and the engine was so loud that, so roaring and consuming and loud, that it ruined any chance for conversation.
5. Chapter I
The Old Sea Dog at the ‘Admiral Benbow’
Squire Trelawney, Dr.Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17--, and go back to the time when my father kept the ‘Admiral Benbow’ inn, and the brown old seaman, with the sabre cut, first took up his lodging under our roof.
The Fossil sisters lived in the Cromwell Road. At that end of it which is farthest away from the Brompton Road, and yet sufficiently near it so one could be taken to look at the dolls’ houses in the Victoria and Albert every wet day. If the weather were not too wet, one was expected to ‘save the penny and walk.’
Once on a time there was a poor husbandman who had so many children that he hadn’t much of either food or clothing to give them.