Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Rules of Engagement

Rules of Engagement. Cheryl Klein, an editor of the Harry Potter books at Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, on beginnings: how to engage the reader's attention in the first sentences of a YA book. 

Not much we haven't run into before, but nicely laid out, with examples from successful YA novels. Part One talks about the importance of voice. The importance of auctorial authority. Specificity of language. The importance of resonating with the reader's own human feelings and experiences. The importance of novelty: characters unlike what the reader was expecting, a little thorny, a little difficult, and therefore mysterious and intriguing. The importance of mystery and suspense.

Part Two gives examples of bad writing, and shows how they might be corrected. The corrections are perhaps less dynamic than they might be, but Klein is an editor, not a writer.

Part Three is an analysis of the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, from the standpoint of: what Rowling is doing right to intrigue and hook the reader, and how she does it. Rowling's prose comes in for a lot of abuse, and I like this as a counterbalance, showing what she is doing right, and why people read her.

Also see rachelmanija on first sentences. (But you probably already have.)

props to Mary Catelli, who posted this link to the sff.writing.craft newsgroup on


meaning: assist, assistant

補佐 == hosa == (noun which can take する to act as a verb) aid, help, assistance, assistant, counselor, adviser
大佐 == taisa == (noun) colonel, (naval) captain

Left radical is 'person' (人). Right radical is 'left' (左), in is original meaning of 'assist'. Thus, 'person who assists'. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Assisted by person on one's left.'

Info from Taka Kanji Database
List of compounds including this character from Risu Dictionary

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