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Smithfield Public School: 1a. In the Beginning

Posted by Sandy Fussell on Friday, July 30, 2010 , under , , , , , | comments (12)

Hi everyone, If you want to download the spreadsheet with all your first line finds - and like me do a tick and flick to see which ones would make you read on - click on the post heading to open up the full post first and click here.

My favourite line was one from Erico and Dylan "Zane tried to kill the cat when it arrived". I went to the Internet to get a picture of the cover to post. When I read the blurb I found out who Zane is. What a clever first line! It tricked me.

Manor Lakes Specialist College: 2. Crying over Books?

I was quite surprised last week that many of you were reading really scary books. The more I thought about, the more puzzled I became. Why do we like to read things or watch movies that frighten us? I am not as brave as you guys, and after a discussion with a friend about Darren Shan I was nervous walking to my car in the dark! But what book did I order in from my local bookstore yesterday – Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater –a werewolves novel. If you are feeling brave, check out Maggie's website.

What about other emotions? What books have you read that made you laugh? Or what about one that made you cry? And I won’t believe it everyone says they never ever feel sad in books. I know no-one in the whole world cries as much as me – not only an I a wimp when it comes to horror, I am a sook when it comes to drama. Once I cried so much on the train a little kid said, very loudly: “Look mummy, that lady is reading the saddest book in the whole world.” The strange thing was it wasn’t really sad – just poignant in places when it was talking about friendship. The book was Dear Swoosie by Kate Constable and Penni Russon. It’s part of the Girlfriend Fiction range and if anyone reads it I bet they say: “This isn’t sad at all.” I wonder why some books are sad for some people and not others.

PS. If you like Girlfriend Fiction - and this is one for the hirls only (sorry guys) - try Something More by Mo Johnson. She's a good freind of mine and an excellent writer. You can read an extract here.

I even cried whenI read – The Knife of Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Has anyone read that one? There's a great review here. I think it would be post-apocalyptic science fiction or science fantasy. And if you are shaking your head and saying – I now that one, its exciting, action filled, a bit violent, dark and scary n places but what did she find to cry about? The dog scene!

The dog has readable thoughts – as do all the boys and men in the book – so if you have ever wondered what dogs think – read at least the first page. There’s a recommendation on the front from Frank Cottrell Bryce (if you’ve seen the film Millions, Frank wrote the screenplay and book and won the Carnegie Medal for it!) . Frank said “One of the best first sentences I’ve ever read and a book that lives up to it.” I agree it’s a great book but don’t think it’s one of the best first sentences.” I’ve been discussing first sentences with the Year 5 and 6 kids from Smithfield if you want to read what we thought or add your own first line suggestions here.

I was really pleased to get so many good book recommendations last time we talked that I’ve loaded up the we page Tegan and I discussed – a place to store central recommendations. I kicked it off with Grimsdon, the new Deborah Abela book I finished yesterday. Feel free to post comments to discussions I am having with other schools. If you have a book to add to the recommendations just post the details in a comment and I’ll add it in.

Here’s the book trailer for Grimsdon:

So why do you read? To be entertained, to be frightened, to feel all gushy in the romance scene or something completely different? I started reading because I had nothing else to do and libraries were free! I had a very strict mum (she didn’t even let me do homework!) and no pocket money. But I kept reading because I liked how it took me other places. That’s probably why I started reading mostly fantasy. Which reminds me – how did you go filling in the lest of genres? Did you get them all?

I also write about places I never go – like Japan, the Arctic and South America. And yes, I even cry in my own books. My kids tell me that is the lamest thing ever!

Smithfield Public School: 1. In the Beginning

First – a wave across cyberspace - hi Smithfield! I was sitting at my desk wondering what to write – when I thought why not start at the very beginning? Because that’s my most favourite part of a book – the very first line, then followed by the first paragraph and then the first page.

How far do you read before you decide to give up on a book? I always read at least the first page. If I get to the end of the first page and I don’t like it I force myself to read to the end of the chapter. But if I don’t like it then – I usually stop reading. Sometimes I might keep going if a friend has recommended it. Last week I was talking with Manor Lakes Specialist College about different genres and the kids were very keen on supernatural and horror stories. I don’t read a lot of horror because I get too scared but I am going to check out the first paragraphs of the recommended books and see if I might like to read them. We decided to start a page for recommended books so if you have any titles to add just let me know. And feel free to join in and comment on our genres discussion.

Recently I read a book called The Undrowned Child. And it was very slow to start. I picked it because: I liked the cover (I hadn’t read a book about mermaids for ages) and I was hooked by the word ‘undrowned’. We often hear about drowned people but never ‘undrowned’ – because that’s what we all are! So I kept wondering how close to drowned you had to become to be undrowned but not drowned. The book got better quickly when the mermaids started to talk like ship captains – with lots of salty language – because that was the only English they had heard. If you visit the website and click on the Eat button you'll hear a mermaid burp!

Here is a selection of my favourite first lines:
Valkyrie Cain hit the parapet and tumbled, unable to stop herself, and with a panicked gasp she disappeared off the edge. - Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire, Derek Landy

Morgoroth, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, former Baron of Gorlan in the Kingdom of Araluen, looked out over his bleak rainswept domain and, for perhaps the thousandth time, cursed. Rangers Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan – John Flanagan

Aubrey Fitzwilliam hated being dead. It made things much harder than they needed to be. – Laws of Magic: Blaze of GloryMichael Pryor
Here are some of the first few lines I wrote:
Why isn’t that boy dead yet? – Jaguar Warrior
‘Aye-eee-yah!’ –
White Crane
Yoshi’s voice booms across the deck, through the thick gloom and above the waves pounding against the hull. “Man overboard.” –
Shaolin Tiger

My all time favourite first page is from Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, this book has won heaps of awards. I liked it so much that for a long time after I read it I could recite the whole page. It’s very suspenseful and guaranteed to make you want to read on. There’s a man in the house with a knife and the only person still alive is the baby… You can see the book trailer here.

Do you have a favourite first line? Let’s see if we can find some really good first lines – maybe in the library or a book you are reading? Some people collect stamps or Pokemon cards but I collect first lines. I have a book I write them down in. Here’s your challenge - find five random books on the library shelf or somewhere else and write down the first lines from each. Post a comment with at least one of the lines in it and if I like it, I’ll add it to my collection. If it’s really good I’ll be adding the book to my To Read List.

Manor Lakes Specialist College: 1. Fairy Tales or Horror Stories? Historical Romance or Steampunk?

First – the introductions! Hi Manor Lakes. Maybe you’ve seen some of my books on your library shelves. I haven’t been an author for long. In fact I only started writing a few years ago when I was working on a joint writing project with my son and he told me to “Go write your own book.” In other words, butt out and leave my story alone! I thought that was a fair enough comment and good advice. So I started writing.

But I have always been a reader. And that’s a writing tip right there – every writer I know is an avid reader. My favourite genre to read is fantasy and when I first started writing, I thought I would write a fantasy book. I did but it was terrible. So authors don’t always end up writing the kind of stories they read.

What is your favourite genre and why? Do you have a favourite book in that genre? Some of my favourite fantasy books are Lord of the Rings, The Old Kingdom Chronicles trilogy by Garth Nix, The Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn, The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver and The Rangers Apprentice series. Are they on anyone else’s favourites list?

Sometimes I wonder how many genres, or kinds, of books there are. So I decided now was good time to do some Internet research and I found 59!!!! Something for everyone.

Let’s see if we can manage to find a book for every one of these genres and subgenres – I should warn you some of them are pretty tricky. Leave a comment suggesting a title and the genre/subgenre. Some books might belong to more than one genre. I wonder how many genres a single book could belong to? I’ll be very impressed and happy to add more genres to the list if anyone can find some. If you are unsure about any genre and can’t find a description on the internet – just ask me. Maybe we’ll agree to cross it off the list!
Adventure/Action, Comic/Graphic, Fantasy (alternate world, animal, Celtic, comic, contemporary, dark, folktale, heroic, high, historical, medieval, myth, prehistoric, romantic, steampunk, superhero, sword and sorcery and urban), Gothic (a story of romance and horror ), Historical Fiction, Horror (body-related (disease, mutation etc), ghost stories, natural disaster, psychological thriller, and supernatural) Humour /Comedy, Crime/Mystery (detective, medical, police procedural, spy, supernatural, and whodunit) , Poetry/verse novel, Political, Romance (contemporary, historical, paranormal, fantasy, and time travel ), Science-Fiction - 'what if' stories that are based on science (alternate history, apocalyptic, biopunk, cyberpunk, gothic, steampunk, time travel, space colonization and urban), Suspense/Thriller (crime, medical, disaster, spy, conspiracy, supernatural, psychological), War, Western.

You can print out the list here. Go for it!

PS If you want to ask a totally unrelated – question – feel free. You can even post a book review. If it is a few sentences put it in a comment and if its longer email it to me and I’ll post it to the blog. I’m always looking for suggestions as to what I should read next. Don’t forget to say what genre it is.

And while we are thinking about books in general, ask Tye to put this one up on the screen for you: Not only is it a great book trailer but in Australia the book is published by the same people who publish me!