Have you ever been reading a story when a sentence the author wrote stopped you in your tracks? Occasionally I come across a book that has great lines, the kind that you remember and other people remember. I love this type of reading because I get excited to see what the author will come up with next. Another reason I like them is because they kick me in the rear to step up my own writing.
One of my favorites is “The Last Good Kiss” by James Crumley. It’s a great piece of writing and full of quotable lines. Here’s one of them:
“Stories are like snapshots, pictures snatched out of time, with clean hard edges. But this was life, and life always begins and ends in a bloody muddle, womb to tomb, just one big mess, a can of worms left to rot in the sun.” –James Crumley, The Last Good Kiss
Here’s another Crumley line:
“When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.” –James Crumley, The Last Good Kiss
When I really don’t feel like writing, I sit around and think up sentences that I might use at some time in some story. I think about people I’ve seen, Situations I’ve been in or observed and try to describe them with one clever sentence. Mine probably won’t end up on somebody’s notable list but I really enjoy the exercise.
Here’s a few to ponder. I used some of them in my as yet unpublished novel, but most of them are just waiting for the perfect time and place. Let me know what you think. I’d be interested to hear if others do anything like this.
Dale’s Random Brainstrom quotes: Have fun with these.
“It’s hard to realize that our own actions are just the sum total of the wills of those around us. They push us one way and pull us another, and eventually the melting pot of wills moves us to action. I mean, do you really think you know anything that you didn’t learn from someone who came before you?”
“He started all this shit but the problem was he had no balls. Talk’s great, but if you can’t stand over the turd you laid, you’ve got no business taking a dump. At least that’s how I see it.”
“It was like every other shield in life, you don’t know what’s on the other side unless you lower it, and if you keep it up you never know. Funny, he thought, some people don’t even realize they’re living behind one.”
“Her pretty face held her two steps above the town whore. At one time or another she’d been married to every guy in town that had more than a rag bag, taking a morsel or two with her before moving on until she gradually built up a small fortune.”
“The guy was a dick, you know the type, a high school quarterback who was the town hero at the state tournament and ended up throwing bags in a fruit warehouse. I don’t know why I liked him.”
“He had small man’s syndrome so he got his black belt in karate. It seemed every time he took a drink in a bar he’d look for a big guy and coldcock him with one of his moves then brag about kicking some guy’s ass after warning him not to cross him.”
“The situation was starting to remind him of his first fuck. It was just one of those things he wasn’t ready to let go of for a while.”
“He’d realized that he was only independent in his job, and though he’d considered himself a patriarch, it came to him that he hadn’t a clue how the bills got paid, or even how the garbage went out. It seemed she was running the show.”
“She was one of those nasty girls, the ones you see in health clubs with tattoos clawing their way out of their asses.”
“When he saw her sunken eyes he realized the results of his actions were worse than shooting heroin straight into her veins.”
“Put your tits away mam. They’re not going to put the fire out and I’m afraid someone’s gonna get hurt if you keep swinging ’em around.”
“The winners always pissed him off. They were the ones with the sixth sense. The one that tells you what the consequences of your actions will be.”