A blog by Nikki Dudley about the gaps in everyday life...


Friday, 30 April 2010

Favourite first lines

As a reader, what I really love is a great first line, or more accurately, a good first few lines. It isn't always done. For example, one of my favourite books, The Great Gatsby, doesn't have a particularly good first line at all. It is:

'In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. "Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."'

Not groundbreaking by any means. Based solely on that small extract, it doesn't seem like a book I would want to delve into but luckily, the first chapter sees to that! A bit of a cliche, but the image of Gatsby reaching out for that light in the distance is still amazing in my opinion.

But back to it!

Here is a list of some of my favourite first lines, and I've tried to also choose ones which I think have followed it up with a brilliant rest of the novel too! I'm not going to say where they are from. Perhaps some of you can guess? Maybe I should get a little prize for the person who gets most of them right, without cheating!

1) It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him.

2) The beginning is simple to mark.

3) If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.

4) The gunman is useless.I know it. He knows it. The whole bank knows it.

5) If I had smoked, it might have been easier.

6) On November 11, 1997, Veronika decided that the moment to kill herself had-at last!-arrived.

7) It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not.

8) One day in August a man disappeared.

9) When the phone rang I was in the kitchen, boiling a potful of spaghetti and whistling along to and FM broadcast of the overture to Rossini’s “The Thieving Magpie,” which has to be the perfect music for cooking pasta.

10) 124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom.

11) I am telling you this just the way it went/ with all the details I remember as they were,/ and including the parts I'm not sure about.

So there are just a few first lines I like. Some of them are fairly simple but it's just the ones that may me want to read on and find out what they're talking about or ones that have a real impact as they are so sharp, or funny, or ambiguous.

Right, so are there any guesses? I'll post the answers in a few days time, for all those who are curious!

N x

ps: I will have to publish comments after the list is up so people can't see any potential right answers!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

First review of Ellipsis

My first review of Ellipsis is now available on the following blog:

Follow the thread

It's generally very positive and I think he enjoyed the read. There's a few minor criticisms but that's to be expected. Overall, very happy with it and look forward to more reviews soon!


Monday, 26 April 2010

Publication day!

"Right on time," Daniel Mansen mouths to Alice as she pushes him to his death. Haunted by these words, Alice becomes obsessed with discovering how a man she didn't know could predict her actions. On the day of the funeral, Daniel's cousin, Thom, finds a piece of paper in Daniel's room detailing the exact time and place of his death.

As Thom and Alice both search for answers, they become knotted together in a story of obsession, hidden truths and the gaps in everyday life that can destroy or save a person.

Ellipsis is a disturbing thriller stemming from what is left unsaid, what bounces around in the mind and evaporates when trying to remember. Can there be a conclusion when no-one seems to know the truth?

So today is the big day. April 26th 2010 is the day my first novel is officially released. I'm feeling a few things...

a sense of achievement. Even if this doesn't go as well as I might hope, I've still had a novel published before the age of 25. Not to be sniffed at...

nervous. Ellipsis isn't really mine anymore. It belongs to the readers now and I can only hope they enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

thankful. My friends and family have been amazing. As well as that, some people I don't even know or hardly know have been supporting Ellipsis.

When I read a good book, I get so absorbed that I forget time and think about what might happen when I'm forced to do other things. It's a tall order but I hope someone feels that way about Ellipsis.

Well, let the feedback begin...


Friday, 16 April 2010

Roehampton University support Ellipsis!

My lovely old unviersity, where I did my BA and MA have posted a little interview with me.


Although a little corny perhaps, I wouldn't have written my novel without Roehampton University. My Masters in particular got me writing fiction properly and taught me how to feel confident about my work. Also, having to take criticisms from about 20 people was tough but useful. Roehampton has been great to me and I'm glad I chose to go there.


Thursday, 15 April 2010

etcetera blogzine - one of my poems published!

One of my poems, 'Hi all!', has been published on the blogzine, etcetera.

Visit them here and give it a read: http://etceterart.blogspot.com/

Etcetera's aim is to foster a critical-creative, supportive community in which as-of-yet unpublished writers can display their work to an interested and receptive audience, where you can write reviews and articles about pretty much whatever you like providing they are engaging and original, where literature can merge with music, interviews and art.

Good to see another new exciting venture up and running.

wordPLAY May 4th event details

The Good Ship on May 4th

wordPLAY brings you minty-fresh new verse, prose and other spoken wordy goings-on in a chilled and refreshingly-rather-different monthly variety showcase

John Osborne
http://johnosbornepoet.blogspot.com/ - a firm favourite from the wordPLAY launch back by very popular demand, John is back, reading from his new book 'The Newsagent's Window'

Catherine Martindale
http://www.myspace.com/poeticat - Catherine Martindale has performed spoken word poetry for 4 years, receiving high acclaim for her honest, thought-provoking, and comic take on urban life in West London.

Bronagh Fegan
http://nestgallery.blogspot.com/2010/02/bronagh-fegan.html - stunning new writing from this fast-rising star of the scene

Chris Horton
http://christopherhorton.blogspot.com/ - wordPLAY was gutted not to host Chris in Jan 2010 due to illness...hurrah, this wonderful poet is finally gonna do the gig after all!

Liz Adams returns by popular demand, this time with beautiful prose that has delightful echoes of her wordPLAY-fave poetry

Ray Morgan
http://www.myspace.com/raypoetry- works her dry wit to wondrous effect in her observational and witty poems

Music: Verity Flecknell

Becca is your host - some say she's nocturnal...others say she just can't remember if she left her sunglasses in Sheffield or not...

Doors 7pm for 8pm start

Entry: £4.50 / £3.50 guest list/concessions

We love you so much wondrous wordPLAYers...please help us keep bringing you quality spoken word and musical greatness in one of the most chilled out and laid back atmospheres in town by coming to see us on 4th May! Spread the word...

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

I just blogged to say...

The power of blogging, tweeting and author websites is really getting some press now. Today, the shortlist for the Author Blog Awards was announced, which includes several writers. The aim of the award is to 'recognise and highlight the writers who use their blogs to connect with readers in the most imaginative, engaging and inspiring ways'. Here's the shortlist below:

Author Blog Awards

I had a look on some of the shortlisted sites and the main thing that struck me was that what seemed to be the key to success was regular updates and replying to comments/readers. Obvious, you may be thinking. Well yes. But you would think popular sites may also include fancy technology or some innovative getup. This list merely emphasizes to me that communication is one of the main drivers behind gathering interest and in effect, sales/popularity! People no longer want their favourite authors or celebrities to be quite so unreachable. They want to be able to send them a quick message or hear from a direct avenue what's going on with them, be able to give feedback on a post/tweet.

And publishers too, are keen that any new author they take on is committed to building up an online following. The power of the internet is shocking. It doesn't always work, granted, but when it does, it can create a phenomenon. Look at some obvious examples- Arctic Monkeys, The Girl With the One Track Mind, sites like Authonomy and CompletelyNovel that find exciting new reads, Stephen Fry's tweeting and how just recently he had a run in with a rude fan, and so on. There are lots of examples but sadly I don't have the greatest memory!

The internet is a fascinating thing. No one can quite predict where it will go next. Like Chinese whispers, if you put something out there, it may just get passed on and grow and mutate, creating a wave. Or it may only pass onto the select few and stay there. It all just depends who sees it, who passes it on, who's talking about it. These awards are a great example of the power of sharing and being willing to put some time in. 15,000 people voted for over 500 blogs. That's a pretty impressive number in itself and it's good to see some of the top blogs/sites and tweeters getting some recognition. We could learn something from them, that's for sure.

The results will be annouced at LBF. I wonder who shall be crowned winner...

wordPLAY event at The Good Ship

Last night, I did my very first reading for Ellipsis, at wordPLAY. It's held at The Good Ship in Kilburn, a suitably quirky pub. Readers were: KATE TEMPEST, HOLLY HOWITT, VILE ELECTRODES, NIA DAVIES, NIKKI DUDLEY, MEGHAN PURVIS

There were some great readings. I particularly enjoyed Meghan Purvis' poetry, which was both amusing and descriptive. Holly Howitt had some innovative flash fiction which was surprising at times. More interesting poetry from Nia Davies, along with a bit of Lily Allen style music from Vile Electrodes. And finally, Kate Tempest stormed the room with some passionate performance poetry (including a 12 minute one!)

All it all, it went pretty well. People were listening to my reading and I got a few compliments after, which was great. Nice audience actually, clapped in all the right places and were supportive to all the acts. Hopefully they liked the sound of Ellipsis and some of them look out for it.

Next event, Brighton Festival OPEN HOUSE on May 1st and 2nd. As some of you may know, Ellipsis is now being published on APRIL 26TH, so this will be my first event after publication! It will hopefully be very exciting and would be good to see some people there. After all, who can resist a day by the sea?

All the best, ND x


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