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Why That?

So an explanation:

“This is the song I can never write” is the first line of my novel A Fistful of Rain, which was published a couple years back. It’s a standalone book – not one of my “series” titles – and not one of my more successful books because of that factor and a handful of others (not the least of which being the fact that the main character and narrator is a very difficult person to get behind for a lot of folks).

I’m a big fan of first sentences. They absolutely set the tone of the novel, they foreshadow what is to come, and in the best instances, they tell the whole of the story right there, you know? A good first sentence says it all.

“The sky above the port was the color of television tuned to a dead channel.” William Gibson, Neuromancer. Brilliant. The whole of the cyber-punk universe in a single sentence.

“The first time I saw Terry Lennox, he was drunk, in a Rolls Royce Silver Wraith, outside the terrace of The Dancers.” Raymond Chandler. The Long Goodbye.

The whole book right there, the whole damn thing. Between that sentence and the title, you know the novel’s about the last time Marlowe saw Terry Lennox.

I’ve always liked “This is the song I can never write.” And putting it next to the Chandler, here, you can see what I was trying to do. I’m still not sure I accomplished it, but I’m very fond of both the sentence and the novel in question (which I’m currently rereading in preparation to responding to questions sent by Lance Evers’ reading group, who sent questions about the novel some three months ago, and who I am only now responding to, because I’m both a flake, and terribly, terribly busy. Lance’s site, by the way, is here and he – and the site – are both pretty neat).

Anyway, that’s the explanation of that.

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