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(The Atlantic)   Stephen King lies in bed awake worrying for months or years over the most important sentence in all novels   (theatlantic.com) divider line 118
    More: Scary, opening sentences, alien movies, Elmore Leonard, Doctor Sleep, Danny Torrance, novels, worrying, bed  
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7791 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 29 Jul 2013 at 3:11 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-07-28 09:31:46 PM  
What is so worrying about "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."?
 
2013-07-28 10:22:10 PM  
His best first sentence, he said, was from his 1991 horror novel Needful Things:

"You've been here before."

The line, which is printed alone on the page in large font, is effective because "it suggests a familiar story; at the same time, the unusual presentation brings us outside the realm of the ordinary. And this, in a way, is a promise of the book that's going to come," King said.


I never noticed how much of a hack King is when I was a kid, and that concerns me.
 
2013-07-28 11:09:41 PM  
Is it the sentence that turns his novels from complete works into something that rambles on and on with little to no point?
 
2013-07-29 12:04:52 AM  
I'm guessing he sleeps well while writing the last bunch, though.
 
2013-07-29 12:07:57 AM  
"I can hear everyone saying, 'That wasn't so scary. The first one really scared me," he said. "Well, that's because you read the first one when you were 13 farkin' years old, hiding under the covers with a flashlight!"

These are wise words for many Farkers to pay attention to though, and not just Stephen King novels.
 
2013-07-29 12:12:19 AM  

Confabulat: I'm guessing he sleeps well while writing the last bunch, though.


Yeah, he should concentrate more on his endings.
 
2013-07-29 12:18:48 AM  
24.media.tumblr.com
 
2013-07-29 12:21:26 AM  
the best writers hook their readers with voice, not just action

Herein lies the appeal of Steven King.
 
2013-07-29 01:15:20 AM  

Mugato: Confabulat: I'm guessing he sleeps well while writing the last bunch, though.

Yeah, he should concentrate more on his endings.


That's why I quit reading King
 
2013-07-29 01:22:03 AM  

Nefarious: "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."


In my less than humble opinion, this holds the best title of one of the best if not THE best opening lines in all of fiction. And the original version of The Gunslinger (not the crappy newer revised retconned version) is still one of my favorite books of all time. I wish the Dark Tower series had continued to follow the lead and tone set by that story. The Drawing of Three and The Wasteland were pretty good, but things started to go sideways and weird with Wizard and Glass and then onward.

Mind you, I do like the whole series as it is now, despite all of the changes that bother me (e.g. Walter / The Man in Black is NOT Marten / Flagg / The Ageless Stranger dammit! And the Crimson King as he ended  up being is NOT the Beast). But I can't help but wonder what the story would have been like if it had followed the original set up rather than changing and retconning things.
 
2013-07-29 03:33:54 AM  

mamoru: In my less than humble opinion, this holds the best title of one of the best if not THE best opening lines in all of fiction.


www.belch.com

It's a mediocre trending on good set up for a short story. It's assisted more by the awesomeness that is the character Roland Deschain than vice versa. "Hear now the anger of Achelies." it ain't.
 
2013-07-29 03:36:15 AM  

doglover: Hear now the anger of Achelies." it ain't.


I don't know what that is, but it doesn't make me want to read more.
 
2013-07-29 03:38:20 AM  
He should probably take the advice of a much better, though odder, writer: Don't Panic.

/also, it was a pleasure to burn
 
2013-07-29 03:40:37 AM  

Confabulat: I don't know what that is


3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-07-29 03:41:28 AM  
"The night was moist"
 
Pud
2013-07-29 03:42:14 AM  

Mugato: Confabulat: I'm guessing he sleeps well while writing the last bunch, though.

Yeah, he should concentrate more on his endings.


t1.gstatic.com

A prime example.
 
2013-07-29 03:43:04 AM  
"Dear Penthouse, I never thought this would happen to me..."

/My pen name is Kephen Sting.
 
2013-07-29 03:45:37 AM  
It was the best of times, the blurst of times
 
2013-07-29 03:50:34 AM  
I just watched the movie Monkeybone, which was a stupid movie. But in one part of the movie which takes place in a dreamland where the souls of famous creative people are imprisoned, it's revealed that Stephen King's soul is here in prison and his body is currently inhabited by Cujo.
 
2013-07-29 03:54:25 AM  

doglover: It's a mediocre trending on good set up for a short story. It's assisted more by the awesomeness that is the character Roland Deschain than vice versa. "Hear now the anger of Achelies." it ain't.


When you open that book for the first time to start reading, you don't know anything about the character. You don't even see the character for another paragraph, as it then proceeds to describe the desert. But that opening line immediately grabs you and says, Yes, you do want to read this.

Also, could you go for a cheaper contemporary translation of that opening line of the Iliad? Couldn't go with the more classical and epic sounding "Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans."?

And, yes, it is my opinion that "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed" is right up there with that. And definitely higher than the translation you posted.
 
2013-07-29 03:59:33 AM  
"You will be haunted," resumed the Ghost, "by Three Spirits.  And one will be unbelievably racist."
 
2013-07-29 04:01:57 AM  

mamoru: Also, could you go for a cheaper contemporary translation of that opening line of the Iliad? Couldn't go with the more classical and epic sounding "Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought countless ills upon the Achaeans."?


Oh it's the Iliad? Any translation is not going to be a good example of a great opening sentence. It's not even the right language. And the Iliad is dull, there's a lot of reasons why most people know The Odyssey a lot better.

But yeah really? You went for The Iliad as a great opening line? Wow. That's weak.
 
2013-07-29 04:11:54 AM  

Kanemano: It was the best of times, the blurst of times


You stupid monkey!

/beat me to it
 
2013-07-29 04:27:28 AM  
"It was a dark and stormy night..."
 
2013-07-29 04:28:07 AM  

mamoru: And, yes, it is my opinion that "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed" is right up there with that. And definitely higher than the translation you posted.


And it's my opinion that I'd rather hear the words of man than than the words of a muse because I wasn't raised in the Hellenistic period and respect man over god.

Hubris ain't nothin' but a thing.

media.tumblr.com
 
2013-07-29 04:28:31 AM  

Confabulat: I'm guessing he sleeps well while writing the last bunch, though.


Well sure, he's not hopped up on coke anymore.

At least I don't think he is.
 
2013-07-29 04:31:41 AM  
weknowmemes.com
 
2013-07-29 04:32:24 AM  

doglover: mamoru: And, yes, it is my opinion that "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed" is right up there with that. And definitely higher than the translation you posted.

And it's my opinion that I'd rather hear the words of man than than the words of a muse because I wasn't raised in the Hellenistic period and respect man over god.

Hubris ain't nothin' but a thing.

[media.tumblr.com image 499x478]


So, the opening line to the Iliad is so great to you, because you have completely altered any translation of it from the original to suit yourself. I didn't realize that we could rank in opening lines we wrote ourselves to replace what the authors said, just because we like our own lines better, as the best. :-/
 
2013-07-29 04:38:02 AM  

MagSeven: [weknowmemes.com image 471x147]


That right there is the best thing.

:)
 
2013-07-29 04:39:51 AM  

HotWingAgenda: His best first sentence, he said, was from his 1991 horror novel Needful Things:

"You've been here before."

The line, which is printed alone on the page in large font, is effective because "it suggests a familiar story; at the same time, the unusual presentation brings us outside the realm of the ordinary. And this, in a way, is a promise of the book that's going to come," King said.

I never noticed how much of a hack King is when I was a kid, and that concerns me.


I don't think King is a hack. It's more the genre that he writes in simply isn't geared for substantial writing. He writes straight up storytelling that largely has a single goal, to scare the shiat out of his audience. By this measure he's found success.
 
2013-07-29 04:44:02 AM  

FTFA:

"Stephen King brings us two new novels in 2013 -- one on shelves already, and the other forthcoming. In June, Joyland was published by Hard Case Crime, an imprint showcasing classic and contemporary crime writers in paperback editions dressed up like vintage pulps: Stylized covers feature ominous taglines, brooding private dicks, and draped-out femme fatales."


The covers of some of those books are pretty cool.
 
2013-07-29 04:45:59 AM  

GreatGlavinsGhost: FTFA:"Stephen King brings us two new novels in 2013 -- one on shelves already, and the other forthcoming. In June, Joyland was published by Hard Case Crime, an imprint showcasing classic and contemporary crime writers in paperback editions dressed up like vintage pulps: Stylized covers feature ominous taglines, brooding private dicks, and draped-out femme fatales."

The covers of some of those books are pretty cool.


Damn link pooped out .. trying again ... http://www.hardcasecrime.com/books_bios.cgi
 
2013-07-29 04:54:26 AM  
"If I am out of my mind, it's all right with me"
 
2013-07-29 05:06:52 AM  

mamoru: doglover: mamoru: And, yes, it is my opinion that "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed" is right up there with that. And definitely higher than the translation you posted.

And it's my opinion that I'd rather hear the words of man than than the words of a muse because I wasn't raised in the Hellenistic period and respect man over god.

Hubris ain't nothin' but a thing.

[media.tumblr.com image 499x478]

So, the opening line to the Iliad is so great to you, because you have completely altered any translation of it from the original to suit yourself. I didn't realize that we could rank in opening lines we wrote ourselves to replace what the authors said, just because we like our own lines better, as the best. :-/


Take a deep breath, maybe stand up and stretch, and realize what you're getting so upset about.
 
2013-07-29 05:08:14 AM  

ckccfa: Take a deep breath, maybe stand up and stretch, and realize what you're getting so upset about.


It's the internet. We yell at each other. No one is upset. Are you new here?
 
2013-07-29 05:15:43 AM  

Confabulat: ckccfa: Take a deep breath, maybe stand up and stretch, and realize what you're getting so upset about.

It's the internet. We yell at each other. No one is upset. Are you new here?


It never even struck me that my posts might be coming across as "upset". Slightly annoyed maybe, but otherwise engaging in a rather normal toned conversation. Weird. :-/
 
2013-07-29 05:20:59 AM  
Charles Dickens is where it's at for opening lines, and opening chapters in general--the man knew how to set a scene:
"Marley was dead, to begin with." (A Christmas Carol)
"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show." (David Copperfield)
"Thirty years ago, Marseilles lay burning in the sun, one day." (Little Dorrit)
"Night is generally my time for walking." (The Old Curiosity Shop)
"In these times of ours, though concerning the exact year there is no need to be precise, a boat of dirty and disreputable appearance, with two figures in it, floated on the Thames, between Southwark bridge which is of iron, and London Bridge which is of stone, as an autumn evening was closing in." (Our Mutual Friend)


/Yes, I know, most of his stuff is old and long and boooooring.
//But he's actually pretty great if you give him a chance.
///Our Mutual Friend is probably my favorite.
 
2013-07-29 05:23:40 AM  

Confabulat: ckccfa: Take a deep breath, maybe stand up and stretch, and realize what you're getting so upset about.

It's the internet. We yell at each other. No one is upset. Are you new here?


Oh, I'm well aware, I spend most of my time browsing the politics tab.  He just seemed awfully invested in a pretty fluffy and subjective topic.  I mean, this isn't libtards versus teatards, so where's the fire, you know?
 
2013-07-29 05:26:13 AM  

mamoru: Confabulat: ckccfa: Take a deep breath, maybe stand up and stretch, and realize what you're getting so upset about.

It's the internet. We yell at each other. No one is upset. Are you new here?

It never even struck me that my posts might be coming across as "upset". Slightly annoyed maybe, but otherwise engaging in a rather normal toned conversation. Weird. :-/


I understand the slant-mouth emoticon as equivalent to when a wife/girlfriend (or certain kind of husband/boyfriend) says "it's fine" and it's not really fine at all.

/It's always a trap.
 
2013-07-29 05:49:59 AM  
"We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold."
 
2013-07-29 06:08:43 AM  
Does anyone actually remember the first line, or for that matter the first page, when they get to the end of a book?
You could quite literally read a list of cat food ingredients and be no worse off, and I'm not referring solely to the King books.
I've read books in random order before, by that I mean open the book at a page, read from that page for a few, put down, open at another point and repeat... worked really well for Naked Lunch but wasn't bad on the others. I've also experimented with only reading the middle of books, skipping the first three and last three chapters, again it worked pretty well, I didn't die of an unsatisfied mind or anything.
Books are just noise made of letter shaped ants that you can't hear. Treat them well, don't crack the spine as that angers the ants. Don't read them in the tub. But please, don't treat the ants in such reverence that you find yourself looking at them all in perfect order, there really is no need, just look at some of them, let them into your mind and move on.
I write books too, but don't read my own work.
 
2013-07-29 06:20:10 AM  

YoOjo: Does anyone actually remember the first line, or for that matter the first page, when they get to the end of a book?


If it's a good book, hell yes. Do you think anyone would remember "Call me Ishmael" if Moby Dick wasn't a great book?
 
2013-07-29 06:20:56 AM  
I AM A SICK MAN.... I am a spiteful man. I am an unattractive man. I believe my liver is diseased.

/Notes from the Underground
 
2013-07-29 06:34:50 AM  

IlGreven: YoOjo: Does anyone actually remember the first line, or for that matter the first page, when they get to the end of a book?

If it's a good book, hell yes. Do you think anyone would remember "Call me Ishmael" if Moby Dick wasn't a great book?


I think you're diluting relevance here, I wasn't referring to good or great books, you introduced that aspect. I am talking about all books, and while that includes good or great ones we shouldn't let ourselves focus solely on a book's merits here.
So, to correct your bold statement so that it fits in with my viewpoint we have - If it is a book, hell yes. Do you think anyone would remember "Call me Ishmael" if Moby Dick wasn't a book?
Which I am sure you'll agree makes a lot more sense and most of us can agree with, but still doesn't address my central point, where I say that we don't need to read the pages in order. My belief is that you could read page 35 of Moby Dick first and your bold statement would still be true, Moby Dick is a book no matter where you start reading it.
 
2013-07-29 06:39:17 AM  

YoOjo: Which I am sure you'll agree makes a lot more sense and most of us can agree with, but still doesn't address my central point, where I say that we don't need to read the pages in order. My belief is that you could read page 35 of Moby Dick first and your bold statement would still be true, Moby Dick is a book no matter where you start reading it.


Hey whatever works for you, man. It gets hard to make out the letters when you start tripping that hard though.
 
mhd
2013-07-29 06:46:08 AM  
The year that Buttercup was born, the most beautiful woman in the world was a French scullery maid named Annette.

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.

(also: Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree.)

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents - except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
 
2013-07-29 06:58:19 AM  
Every time I've read a Stephen King novel I've promised myself I would never read another Stephen King novel....
 
2013-07-29 07:06:59 AM  
In my head every character in every Steven King book sounds like the "Pepperidge Farm Remembers..." guy
 
2013-07-29 07:20:06 AM  
The opening line to The Gunslinger is fantastic.

That being said, I love Stephen King. Yes, his endings are usually irksome, but dammit if he can't write characters I love to loathe. I have a lot of fun reading his books and I will continue to do so.

11/22/63 was quite enjoyable though I would have liked more exploration of the bad present.
 
2013-07-29 07:20:33 AM  
Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moo-cow coming down along the road and this moo-cow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo ...
 
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