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mom-scolding“Scolding never did any good.”

This opening line make me laugh because I immediately pictured a mother, with hands fisted on her hips, full of disgust at the behavior of her children when she spies the muddy footprints leading from the back door right across her freshly scrubbed floor. Then again, she could be a wife whose husband just left his socks balled up on the bedroom floor again … or conveniently forgot to tell her that he’d used the last of the milk and didn’t write it on the list.

Yet, as I continued to explore the possibilities, I could put myself into the fictional skin of a Huckleberry Finn or Dennis the Menace who lets the scolding of others roll off his back. Perhaps the character is a young girl who always seems to lose track of time when riding a horse (or reading a book or some other favorite activity), but recognizes that scolding isn’t enough of a motivator for her to change her behavior.

A story that starts this way lets me know there will be plenty of scolding – and reasons to do so – in the pages ahead. Chances are I can relate to one side or the other as the story unfolds.

(By the way, this opening line is from Ruby, a 2003 historical romance by Lauraine Snelling selected at random after a stroll through my local library.)

What about you? What did you think was going to happen next?

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