Saturday, 12 May 2007

Dialogue Openers (Yours) Are Good for... ME

I mentioned earlier how people who don't understand why there may be "rules" to writing (and there are and they are easy to prove) will stretch to find examples of those rules being broken by published authors.

Recently one was mentioned, by Doris Lessing (2000) "Ben in the World".

Well done the D-O spotter! Of course Doris was 81 when that book was published and had published 45 or so before that, her first novel being published a mere HALF CENTURY before "Ben".

Now I don't have access to all of Doris' output, but what if that's the ONLY book she opened with dialogue? That would say (of course) that you can open a story or a novel with dialogue, but in the case of this one very famous writer it is extremely rare.

I don't KNOW, by the way.

But I have 65 Hemingway starts and only 2 (3%) start with dialogue. He doesn't bother with adverbs and adjectives, either!

If only he had used dialogue openers. He might have won the Nobel Prize.

Oh, hang on, he did!

Never mind, let's try Orwell: The Complete Novels. Six. No dialogue openers.

How about Jane Austen? None of the novels she's famous for open with dialogue, but there IS ONE. See, absolute proof that great writers use dialogue to open stories and novels. Can you name the novel? Try "Edgar & Emma". Big hit that one, opened with dialogue, though. Seventeen novels and shorter works, ONE D-O.

Let's look at the Best Short Stories of the Twentieth Century

There are 85. TWO have dialogue openers


That's 3.6%

Last time I surveyed about a thousand stories I got 4% I think.

So keep opening your stories and novels with dialogue, folks.

It leaves more room for the writers to succeed.

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