This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force. Dorothy Parker
The following two paragraphs comprise the first page of a book by a “national bestselling author,” Mariah Stewart, who has about 30 books published. I don’t get how people can plow through this—it’d be better than Ambien for getting to sleep if it weren’t so annoying.
Here’s the first page:
Outside the courthouse , sleet hissed softly, striking the front of the old stone building at sharp angles with muffled plunks. From a narrow first-floor window, Curtis Alan Channing watched water spill from partially frozen gutters to overflow in icy waterfalls onto the frosted ground below. His eyes flickered upward to a sky the color of cinders, its low clouds hovering over the naked trees that lined the main walk leading to the courthouse steps.
News vans from competing television stations were parked side by side along the one-way street. He stared for a while, hoping to see if one of the pretty young reporters might surface, but no one emerged in the face of the storm other than a cameraman who occasionally poked his head out to check the readiness of his equipment before ducking back into the shelter of the vehicle. Channing wondered idly what event could be of sufficient interest to bring all those media types out so early on such a morning.
ENOUGH—I get it already! It’s shitty outside and a guy’s looking out the window! There’s some media outside! 166 words to say this? No writer should ever, under any circumstances, say “his eyes flickered upward.” Does Ballantine not have editors? I’m surprised this book doesn’t have stretch marks from the glut of lard that binds it.
The only enjoyment I got as I labored through the first page was editing it as I read:
Sleet hissed outside, striking the front of the old stone courthouse at sharp angles. From a narrow window, Curtis Alan Channing watched icy water flow from the gutters onto frozen ground. He looked up at a gray sky, its low clouds hovering over naked trees.
A crush of television vans jammed the one-way street before him. Channing watched with curiosity for a while but no one emerged. He wondered what would cause the media to converge so early on such a bleak morning.
Can you blame me for enjoying the satisfying thwump a flatulent paperback makes when it hits the wall? I had to pick it up though, so I could type the first page here. Otherwise, the dogs would have hijacked it. I still might let them.