Another Magic’s Child Preview (with notes)

A number of you have been begging for more, so borrowing a trick from me old man, here’s the first line of each chapter of Magic’s Child:

1. [too spoilery]1

2. Even though my belly was full of bacon, eggs, fried onions, and mushrooms, I still reached for my fourth rambutan.2

3. Jennifer Ishii walked around my room slowly.3

4. [too spoilery]

5. Jay-Tee wasn’t thinking about God either.

6. As I lay in bed, Jennifer Ishii’s sadness settled over me, heavy and cloying.

7. Tom listened calmly to Cathy reaming him out for not returning her call earlier or answering her emails.

8. Jay-Tee tried the handle of the door to New York.

9. [too spoilery]

10. “No! How? Where?” Jay-Tee spluttered.4

11. [too spoilery]

12. “Whoa,” Jay-Tee said, blinking rapidly.

13. “Oops?” Tom asked.

14. The 610 tiny smudges of light smeared across space, swirling into a spiral that opened out into infinity.5

15. [too spoilery]

16. It wasn’t the same.

17. [too spoilery]

18. Tom woke to the smell of something clean and damp roaring in the distance, and a hard, cold floor under his back.6

19. [too spoilery]

20. They led me out of their home, past the soccer-playing boys, who studiously avoided looking at me.

21. “Rita seems nice,” Jay-Tee said.

22. [too spoilery]

23. It was after two in the afternoon.

24. [too spoilery]

25. [too spoilery]

26. I staggered, tripping over a tiny rock wall into greenery.

27. Jay-Tee woke to the sound of pounding coming from downstairs.

29. [too spoilery]

30. [too spoilery]

31. [too spoilery]

32. “What on earth?” Tom said.7

33. [too spoilery]

34. [too spoilery]

35. [too spoilery]

36. [too spoilery]

Epi: [too spoilery]

  1. All excessive spoilerage has been redacted []
  2. Never forget to let your characters eat. Otherwise they’ll die. []
  3. Go adverbs! Go adverbs! Go adverbs!
  4. And a big woo hoo for verbs of utterance that aren’t “said”!! []
  5. Clearly, this is the “metaphysical” that Lauren Myracle was talking about. []
  6. You may ask, “How can the smell of something ‘clean and damp’ make a sound?” To which I would answer, “Synaesthesia, people, synaesthesia!” []
  7. Isn’t that a big old spoiler, Justine? I mean clearly something’s up! How dare you reveal that something happens in your book! In fact, pretty much every one of these opening lines is a spoiler. You’ve revealed that Tom and Jay-Tee are in Magic’s Child and that there are two new characters, Jennifer Ishii and Rita. Why the hell would I read your book now? I know everything! Damn your eyes, Justine Larbalestier! Plus I count 4 adverbs and 10 adjectives. You’re a hack, Larbalestier! A hack! []


  1. Ted Lemon on #


  2. oyceter on #

    Just wanted to let you know that all your writing posts and writing tips have been cracking me up in the absolute best of ways.

    Also: Noooooo! I am now forever spoiled because I know what Reason had for breakfast! Curses!

  3. marrije on #

    actually, not all is spoiled. i have no idea why jennifer ishii is sad or who Rita is, and i want to know (though i’m biased against rita i’m afraid, since my least favourite cabinet minister’s name is rita and we’re in the middle of election season, so she’s everywhere).

    i think #18 is prolly just a dryer.

    sorry! just jesting, and not very well. i want it to be march, dammit.

  4. lili on #

    too right, larbalestier! a total hack. i shall never lower my discerning eyes to read your hackery. never ever.


  5. Justine on #

    Ted: Dunno whatcha talkin bout.

    Oyceter: Cracking you up?! But I have been deadly serious! And educational! I am shocked, shocked, shocked that you could be in any way amused!

    I’m sorry about the breakfast spoilery. I thought long and hard about including that sentence . . .

    Marrije: That’s an amazing coincidence—the Rita in Magic’s Child is also a cabinet minister! Incredible!

    Lili: I rend my clothes and promise never to commit hackery again . . .

  6. Rebecca on #

    tee hee!

  7. Penni on #

    What a fabulous post!!

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