The Driver’s License
We are reblogging this excellent story by James Osborne, a writer friend from our former residence in Vernon, British Columbia. Gayle has posted the following remark: As usual, I loved the story, Jim. Thanks for reminding me of the experience [of getting a driver’s license] of so many of my small town contemporaries in the same era as you. It has inspired me to post a story about my very different experiences getting my driver’s licenses – while in college in Minnesota, in Germany through the US Army and, much later, in Mexico. That is, if I can find the time to get at the computer. We moved to a larger apartment in our complex [in Winnipeg] and, after almost four weeks, I’m finally seeing the end in sight of the moving-in process. Our blog has certainly suffered from inactivity in the meantime. Thanks for the inspiration.
We’d moved from the country. Out there most kids by 12 were driving around on their farms… driving tractors, for sure, and even cars. I did. So did my older sister.
Farmers needed help from kids big enough to drive a tractor. Being ‘big enough’ was defined as: can your feet reach the pedals? Wood booster blocks clamped to the pedals made that possible for many of us at first.
Empty farm pastures are great places for learning how to steer without hitting anything or anyone, and how to use the brakes, and especially getting the hang of accelerating and shifting gears.
It was a good thing no other vehicles, or people, were in the pasture where my sister and I took our first lurching trials behind the wheel of our tractor and then the family car. Lucky also, there were no light standards, or curbs, or stop signs, or cement…
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Is the first sentence the charm?
A fascinating post that caused us to analyse the opening sentences in our three published books. This calls for a new post by Gayle in the near future.
We’ve all been told that we have only a couple of pages to hook a reader. I think that’s wrong. I think the hook comes in the first page. The first paragraph. The first sentence.
Last weekend, I was at a workshop devoted to the first 100 words of a novel. That’s right – 100 WORDS.
I think that first paragraph can hook a reader not just into one book – but into an author’s storytelling and writing style. One sentence can turn a first time reader into a lifelong fan. It has happened to this reader – more than once.
I remember my first encounter with the great Mary Stewart. I was about thirteen and dreaming of escaping small town Australia to have adventures in the big wide world.
How outdated the cover seems now – the writing dates too, but it’s good enough to overcome that.
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Find me at The Forks this February (and this Friday!)
Kick-Start Your Comments
See my previous blog on this topic. This post has similar, very helpful suggestions
Blogging is 50% self-expression, 50% community — bloggers who don’t want to connect with others are few and far between, and most of us get a little frisson of excitement every time we’re notified that one of our posts has moved someone enough to leave a comment.
If your comment section is populated mainly by tumbleweeds, never fear! Try one (or all) of these to up the odds of starting a conversation with your readers:
- Have an opinion. Opinions are the lifeblood of blogs — your unique perspective gets us reading, and reacting to that perspective gets us commenting. You may want to appeal to the widest audience by keeping your blog blandly balanced, but you’ll miss out on the thing that makes blogs compelling: point of view. Without a point of view, you won’t get negative comments… but you won’t get positive ones, either. (Worried about being too blunt? We’ve got some tips that’ll help.)
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