“Confusion Break Bone” is a Fela Kuti song.
It’s not pronounced the way it reads. You say, “Kon-foo-shon breaky-boney”.
This song is loosely about a place in Lagos called Ojuelegba (which translates to “where the cane sellers are” or “where the whip sellers dwell”-literally, “the face/eye of the cane seller”). If you’ve ever been to Ojuelegba (at least in the ’70s and ’80s) you’ll find the song haunting and frightening.
The place was a confused mess of cars, buses, corrupt police and thugs. I saw my first dead body there. Being so young, when I heard the Fela song I just thought it was a place people went to die alone in the mud or get arrested without charge. In the 80s a governor called Jakande imposed some order on it and in the 90s it was better, but still felt…unsettling.
This is a character from the awesome novella ‘Hammers on Bone’ by Cassandra Khaw.
“If you are looking for a unique and multi-layered alien invasion story that has a truly devastating twist, Rosewater is your book.”
Little Red Reviewer reads ROSEWATER:
Ten thoughts on story/novel openings:
1-Your first job is to draw the reader in.
2-Having drawn her in, keep her there till the story is done.
3-You might find that working on the first line is easiest when you’ve finished the whole story.
4-The opening should set expectations which, by the end of the story, will be met in full.
5-It’s probably best to avoid being boring here.
6-Concrete is probably better than abstract. In other words, who, where, what, why and when, rather than thoughts about the philosophical meaning of grout fungus in the biosphere.
7-The opening and the ending are inextricably linked to each other. These may be the most important parts of the story, so spend a lot of time and effort on both of them.
8-Beware of writerly advice that says “always” or “never” or “must” with respect to openings. Screw that. But *be mindful of what you are screwing*.
9-The opening, above all else, INTRODUCES. It’s not the best place for backstory or side-quests. Introduce characters, world and situation.
10-For my money, the best way to learn about openings is to take books off your shelf (or from the library shelves) and close-read the openings of the narratives that work for you.
Reading: The Making of Mr. Gray’s Anatomy by Ruth Richardson
Listening to: The Lady of Rage, Afro Puffs
I’ve neglected posting sketches.