29 October 2007

I Think I'll Start this Post in Paragraph 3

Have you noticed that some books start on page 1 and others start on, oh, say, page 11? Why is that?

Is it some sort of anti-writer's block thing? The author just can't commit to what he fears might not make a fabulous page 1 so he gives himself a running start and broad jumps into what by rights should be mid-chapter pagination thereby avoiding that unsettling page 1 ickiness??

Or has the publisher said "I need 300 pages from you" and the author only has 289 but thinks maybe nobody will notice if he pulls a numbers game?

I don't get it. What other job would allow this type of obvious skimming? None that I can think of. Artsy writers. They're the only ones that get away with this sordid sham.

And why stop there? Why not start on page 437? Or better yet, why not skip a few numbers at the end of every chapter?

It's outrageous. Why isn't Readers Digest writing about this in their "That's Outrageous" section? Enquiring minds want to know.

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