Why my fiction-writing efforts have gone nowhere

April 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I have a special wariness of people who write opening sentences with nothing in mind, and then try to create a story around them. These sentences, usually easy to detect, go like this: “Mrs. Ponsonby had never put the dog in the oven before,” “‘I have a wine tree, if you would care to see it,’ said Mr. Dillingworth,” and “Jackson decided suddenly, for no reason, really, to buy his wife a tricycle.” I have never traced the fortunes of such characters in the stories I receive beyond the opening sentence, but, like you, I have a fair notion of what happens, or doesn’t happen, in “The Barking Oven,” “The Burgundy Tree,” and “A Tricycle for Mama.”

James Thurber


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  1. i *LOVE* james thurber’s The 13 Clocks. LOVE. IT.

    (and i’m pretty fond of this quote, now, too.)

  2. So true.

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