November 16, 2007

Favorite Book Friday

Writers know the only way to grab agents, editors and most importantly, readers is to craft a first chapter so tight it sings. Better yet, a first page that plunges its talons in and won’t let go.

I’ve discovered a novel that managed to hook me like a side of beef with the first paragraph. (And I’m a vegetarian!)

From Mary Hershey’s THE ONE WHERE THE KID NEARLY JUMPS TO HIS DEATH AND LANDS IN CALIFORNIA. (Mary and I are in a heated battle for the award for longest book title.):

“I first became famous when I was eight years old and my dad took me skiing at Lake Rochester with his old-lady boss. My picture was on the front page of all the newspapers for miles around. Heck, Aunt Clem said she even caught me on the national news. And it wasn’t because I was such a hotdog skier. The real story was that I took a dive out of the ski lift chair. Broke my right leg so bad they had to cut it off.”

The second paragraph is good, too, and the one after that and . . . But I’ll allow you the pleasure.

Ms. Hershey’s writing is not only compelling, it’s laugh-out-loud funny. Yep, she wrote a book about an amputee so hilarious it’ll make you snort milk out your nose . . . when you’re not reaching for the tissue box because of the sad parts.

If you’d like to read an interview with Ms. Hershey, check out this link.

Now, excuse me, I’m off to polish the first paragraph of my new middle grade novel. Ms. Hershey’s set the bar kind of high, don’t you think?

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