WS 35: Adult Contemporary novels comparison

We compare the opening pages of classic novels with contemporary novels.

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Information for the beginning or aspiring writer about all things writing in the fiction world. Novels, publishing, etc. We feature author and other professional interviews. View all posts by Writing Snippets

7 responses to “WS 35: Adult Contemporary novels comparison

  • K. Bill Albrecht

    I love this idea. First pages, paragraphs, and sentences really are important, and I really need to work on them.

    Interesting that your first example breaks some of the current rules, or maybe defies conventional wisdom. And yet that is such a great opening. Why do you think it works? I think it’s because it starts with a mystery or a contradiction– she’s not beautiful, but men think she is.

    PS – You spelled contemporary wrong.

  • K. Bill Albrecht

    Also, you guys sound like you’re in a cave or something.

  • alicebeesley

    Thanks K. Bill. The first example is from a classic. That kind of description worked back then but not now. People now want more action/voice. maybe it’s because we live in such a fast paced world with so many other distractions: computer, etc. competing for our attention. I’m not sure why it sounds funny. Our original computer we usually do the podcasts on is having problems so we did it on a laptop. Maybe that’s the difference. Thanks for your patience.

  • K. Bill Albrecht

    No problem. The next podcast doesn’t have the same issue, so I guess you guys have worked it out. πŸ™‚

    Also, sometimes I think that people have more patience than we give them credit for. But maybe that’s because I like to take a little time at the start of my stories. And maybe it would be better for me to just reconcile myself to the desires of my audience.

    • alicebeesley

      I”m the same way. I love description and the classics for that reason but I’m finding editors and agents want faster paced stories that jump right into the problem, at least in YA novels.

      • K. Bill Albrecht

        My problem is that I like dialogue too much. I don’t put enough description in, or enough action. I just write dialogue, because it’s fun. If I’m not careful, my work comes out like a poor Quentin Tarrantino or Seinfeld imitation. At best, it’s witty banter about nothing. At worst, it’s just inane chatter.

        But I think it’s productive, too, because dialogue is how I find the voice of the characters. Maybe I just need to be better at editing, and cutting out bits of clever conversation that really aren’t moving the plot forward.

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