Tuesday, January 23, 2007

For aspiring authors

If you want to learn how to write the beginning of a novel, do yourself a favor and read the first two chapters of The Shining by Stephen King. They're done from the Jack Nicholson character's (the psycho, we all know that from the trailers) point of view and his wife's point of view.

In two short chapters, we learn that Jack is going to be managing a hotel for the winter, that it is often snowed in for weeks at a time, that the last guy who did the job got stir crazy and blew away his whole family, then killed himself, Jack has an anger problem but conceals it beneath a glad-handing exterior, he hurt a student, abused his 3-year old son (now 5), is a dry drunk, his wife almost left him, his wife is afraid of going to the hotel with him, and their son is curiously insightful.

At the beginning of Chapter 3, we learn that there is a boiler in the basement that must be monitored constantly to prevent a massive explosion.

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