Page 1 - Silent Violence
P. 1

Follow the advice of any book on novel writing and
you will be torturing yourself looking for that
attention-grabbing opening sentence. Go for the
jugular, they shout. Furthermore, you will be told
to start your story at a turning point or a moment
of conflict. Hurl a shower of question marks like
hooks into the mind of the reader.

   My initial reaction to this advice, when beginning
my story some twenty odd years ago, was to shout

back: this is my life, not a novel. Since completing

the first, second, fifth draft, and in so doing
discovering the turning points and moments of
conflict, I have been persuaded to reach a wider
audience. However, rather than scouring my story
for a suitable beginning I found I had too many.

So I decided upon two: a turning point and a

moment of conflict. The first turning point has to
be my arrival in Saudi Arabia. The moment of
conflict I have chosen is the immediate aftermath
of the disaster. What about the elusive opening
line? Here too I had the problem of too many
candidates. So I will let you choose.

   These opening sentences come from when I
was re-reading the only English magazine in
prison. The old Indian gave it to me. It was a

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