Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lonely on the Mountain, part 1

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.

Pa said that when I was a boy. There was a hot, dry wind moaning through the hot, dry trees, and we were scared of fire in the woods, knowing that if fire came, all we had would go.

We had crops in the ground, but there'd been no rain for weeks. We were scrapin' the bottom of the barrel for flour and drinkin' coffee made from ground-up beans. We' had our best cow die, and the rest was ganted up, so's you could count every rib.

from
Lonely on the Mountain
Louis L'Amour
published 1980

I've been doing a writing exercise that involves copying out about 300 words of the beginning of novels. This is the first 1/3 of the portion that I copied.


Louis L'Amour had a series, the Sackett series. The first book in that series was written in 1960. This one came along 20 years later. By this time Louis L'Amour was one of the most popular writers in the country. His skill with words can be seen here.

I found this section to be a very powerful opening, which I used for a model in my own WIP. The main character is William Tell Sackett, called Tell. He is featured in several of the Sackett novels and is a character I love.

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