Paula’s Post #86
I have a little confession to make.
I actually had already decided what novel I wished to ‘deconstruct’ when I put up my post earlier this afternoon. Not only that, I’d even started working on the deconstruction process.
But for today’s blog post, I so wanted to use an excerpt from the novel I had chosen. Yet I didn’t think I should do that without first asking the author’s permission, (even though likely covered by the ‘fair use’ exception to copyright infringement).
I didn’t expect to hear back from that author in time to write my blog post for today. At least not before the World Series started, which I know my husband wanted to watch.
He’s on the ferry, he’s on his way home. He’s already phoned and asked me to record the game and order pizza. So, with that in mind, I decided I’d better get my blog post done before he arrived home. As you may have gathered from my earlier post, we take the World Series seriously in my house. (Or not, depending on who is playing).
But that the answer to my email arrived, just as I posted. So for my ‘real’ blog post of the day, I’d like to thank our multi-talented, award-winning Canadian mystery author Ms. Louise Penny for granting me permission to reproduce the first paragraph of her first novel, Still Life.
On her website, louisepenny.com, Ms. Penny reveals that when she was starting out, she was turned down more times than she cares to admit and so now shares advice with other writers on getting published.
She knows what it is like to walk in our shoes, so to speak. Her debut novel, Still Life, winner of the New Blood Dagger, Arthur Ellis, Barry, Anthony, and Dilys awards, was repeatedly rejected.
But take a moment and read the opening paragraph with me. I call it, ‘Learning from the Masters’. In one short paragraph, Ms. Louise Penny ‘hooks us’ with 4 of the classic 5W’s (no, not 5writers – the other 5W’s) and reels us into her masterfully plotted story:
Deconstruction, Learning from the Masters
Louise Penny – Canada’s Award-Winning Author
Opening/Introducing the Victim:
“Miss. Jane Neal met her maker in the early morning mist of Thanksgiving Sunday. It was pretty much a surprise all around. Miss Neal’s was not a natural death, unless you’re of the belief everything happens as it is supposed to. If so, for seventy-six years Jane Neal had been walking toward this final moment when death met her in the brilliant maple woods on the verge of the village of Three Pines. She’d fallen spread-eagled, as though making angels in the bright and brittle leaves.”
Ms. Penny has answered the 4 out of 5 of the classic 5W’s:
– Who? – Ms. Jane Neal, age 76
– What? – met her unnatural death,
– When? – in the early morning mist of Thanksgiving Sunday
– Where? – in the brilliant maple woods on the verge of the village of Three Pines, in the bright and brittle leaves
– How?- ah, she’d fallen spread eagled…. but, but, but… wait! We don’t really know about the “how”… and what we really, really don’t know, is the heart and soul of any good of the mystery…
Don’t you want to read on?
My heartfelt thanks to Ms. Penny for kind permission to excerpt her paragraph.