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Studying Beginnings

Cheryl's Musings: Studying Beginnings

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


Studying Beginnings

iStock_000011488510MediumI’m working on a new type of writing project right now. A memoir. (No, it’s not my own—I’m working with someone who is MUCH more interesting than I am on THEIR  memoir.) But since it’s new kind of writing for me, I’ve been reading and taking notes on a LOT of memoir to see how other authors handle it.

In the process, I’ve stumbled upon a wonderful tool for studying book beginnings: the Kindle. In my case, the Kindle for iPhone.

Did you know that the Kindle allows you to download sample chapters from most, if not all, available books? I knew this, but it wasn’t until I was sitting in a kid’s orchestra rehearsal, wishing I had a pile of memoirs with me so I could check out how various authors begin their stories, that I put two and two together. With the Kindle, it’s incredibly simple to download and compare ten or twenty of fifty book beginnings.

As a fellow writer, I did, in fact, wrestle with whether it was fair to the authors I was reading to download their book openings for free. I decided it was. First, I could have accomplished the same thing by picking up the books at my local library and spending a few afternoons at my local bookstore. I’d already done the first and was planning on the second—the Kindle just made the browsing process a bit easier.

Second, when I scan through 20+ book beginnings, I inevitably find a must-buy title that I would not have found otherwise, just like I go out and buy the best of the library books I read.

Meanwhile, I was able to peruse a wide range of memoir openings from the relative comfort of my folding chair during orchestra rehearsal. What more could a writer want?

:) Cheryl

PS: For those of you who do not own the Kindle or iPhone, many books are available to “browse” online through author websites, Amazon, or other bookselling websites.

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