Once Upon a Time

Is there a better opening line?

Once upon a time sets the stage for just about anything: a lonely house deep in the woods, a castle at the top of a steep and forbidding mountain; a lonely troll under a bridge, a mad scientist at work in his lab, an innocent wish gone wrong, the seal on an ancient tomb broken, a room at the top of the stairs, a lost soul wandering the streets of a city, and so much more.

Variations on the ‘Once Upon a Time’ theme display even more potential for monstrous mischief…

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore…

And Poe introduces ‘The Raven’ in all his glory.

Although the principle inspiration for my Poe novella, entitled POED, is his canon of murderous short stories, his poetry has some killer potential too. I particularly like the ‘quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore.’

That’s a good way to start a monster story. Simply opening the pages of an old book and discovering some lost wisdom from a time long forgotten. I think I might try that one!

How’s this for a working title: ‘A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore’?


  1. Doh…I’ve read those lines before but for some reason I did not associate them with Poe. Must have read them as quotes in something else. Very powerful. However…methinks you might need something just a teeny weeny bit shorter for your title :p

    • Candy

      Or I could turn it around with a joke — the curious volume of forgotten lore is really, really, short. Nah… just a thought.

      • lol – I was going to suggest ‘Forgotten Lore’ but the I realised that it sounds too much like one of those books based on video games that are spawned by fanboys and girls.

        • Candy

          Words and associations…. a HUGE topic to discuss. Generational associations, geographical associations… I guess I should start paying attention to game names. One of the first comments I got on Facebook when I was promoting The Mary Shelley Game was — is it a Game or an ebook? I had no idea that someone searching Amazon might make that mistake. I was thinking about the classic story, ‘The Most Dangerous Game’ but I remember it was required reading when I was a kid. Does anyone read it now? My dad is always astonished that I haven’t read ALL his favorites. We even had the same literature teacher at NYU (30 years apart) I had to let him down easy, pointing out that there was a whole lot of American literature in-between his class and mine. Some of the older books had to get bounced.

          • I agree, the use of words has changed a great deal however in some ways this should play in your favour. Not all gamers searching for ‘games’ on the net are 14 year old fanboys so if a few of the literate ones check out The Mary Shelley Game by accident then that could be a good thing 😀 I’ve discovered interesting connections in reverse – such as learning that there is an mmo [game] based on Tad William’s Otherland books. I guess that’s all part of the networking we all do one way or another.