Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Drop me a Line

Joe Rogan, the comedian/actor was judging a contest for new comics. After watching a guy do his thing, Joe said simply, “It’s not often that I hear a joke I wish I’d written, but you had one.” As a writer, I can understand where he’s coming from. Once in a while, I come across a line or phrase, or snippet of dialogue that is so good I wish I had thought of it first.

In reading ‘Forever Odd’ by Dean Koontz, I came across just such a line. It is the first line in Chapter Four and it reads,

“When you take maybe fifty thousand volts from a taser, some time has to pass before you feel like dancing.”

Now, I’ve never been hit by a taser, and I am not a very good dancer, but I imagine a truer sentence has never been written about the experience. This got me to thinking of some other great lines that pulled me further into a book. Consider the following:

“Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died.” ~ Ken Grimwood’s REPLAY

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” ~ Stephen King’s DARK TOWER; THE GUNSLINGER

Other times, a line or phrase will sneak up on me somewhere within the story:

“Daisy just sat there and studied me for the longest time, with a kind of fascinated expression on her face, and then she said, ‘Mom, was there a certain conscious point in your life when you decided to settle for being ordinary?” ~ Anne Tyler’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel BREATHING LESSONS.

All of these books took me on an amazing ride and opened my eyes to possibilities I’d never imagined. What are some of your favorite lines from novels you’ve read? Send them to me at gnubill@yahoo.com. I am looking for the unique lines that captured you, but try to stay away from the standards.

And that joke that caught Joe Rogan by surprise? “Surfing is the most dangerous sport on earth, because it is the only sport where sharks are involved.”

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