Ayn Rand's 100th birthday passed a few days ago and went unremarked on this blog because I was afraid my Number One Son (an Ayn fan who frequently reads this blog and posts comments here) would insist that I bake a cake and blow up balloons. But while I hesitate to bring up That Name (I was never an admirer, and I look on Tristan's infatuation with benign amusement) I simply must pass along this link.
Editor Ray Rhamey over at Flogging the Quill* has an excellent post that picks apart the opening scene of Rand's Atlas Shrugged and comments on why certain elements do or do not work for him. If you're a writer struggling to understand the craft (and if you're not struggling to understand the craft, I don't believe you are a writer) rush over there and pick up some helpful tips. Here's a sample:
"Thank you, sir," said the voice, without interest, and
the face leaned forward for a moment. The face was
wind-browned, cut by lines of weariness and cynical
resignation; the eyes were intelligent. ("Without interest"
doesn't work well for me. Interest in what? Nor does it
show. Even using "gratitude" seems to me more
appropriate. On the other hand, repetition of "the face"
works because Rand is keeping the bum as more of an
object, somehow less than human. This works to her
Eddie Willers walked on, wondering why he always felt
it at this time of day, this sense of dread without reason.
No, he thought, not dread, there's nothing to fear; just
an immense, diffused apprehension, with no source or
object. (Raises good story questions.)
And here's something else that may interest some of you: Ramey will pick apart a sample of your work in exchange for permission to post it. See the bottom of his post for details.
* This is where my post's title came from. Yeah, I know it's a real groaner, but it made me feel clever for a couple of seconds, and I really needed to feel clever this morning.