Monday, July 30, 2012

“Beginning” of the Week #24

The end of last week’s discussion on the beginning of Deryni Checkmate and openings that start with the weather had me thinking about the opening passage of one of my favorite novels, The Arcanum by Thomas Wheeler (you can read my review here). I think I’m on the side that believes opening with the weather is not a big deal, especially if it sets the mood for the story to follow:


A September storm battered a sleeping London. Barrage after barrage of gusting sheets drummed on the rooftops and loosened clapboards. Raindrops like silver dollars pelted the empty roads and forced families of pigeons into huddled clumps atop the gaslights.
Then it stopped. 
The trees of Kensignton Gardens swayed, and the city held its breath. It waited a few dripping moments, then relaxed. 
Just as suddenly, a Model-T Ford swerved past Marble Arch in Hyde Park and buzzed around Speakers' Corner, peals of laughter following in its wake.
– Thomas Wheeler, The Arcanum

I liked this opening, even if it was mostly setting the mood and had just the barest hint of conflictor a sense something bad might happen – in the last sentence. But what do you think? Is it bad to open a novel with the weather?

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