For the week of Hearts and Flowers, WITS would like you to share a line of writing you love, your own or another's. Just one. We want to share our own favorite lines and hear about yours down in the comments.
Many writers struggle with self-doubt, with imposter syndrome, with anxiety. The conundrum is that before we ask others to believe in us and our writing, we must believe in ourselves and know that our words deserve to be heard.
Go ahead, be brave.
From a YA short story I'm working on. The female protagonist discovers wrestling as a way to fight back after life has given her a beating.
She jogged to the third mat when her name was called over the loudspeaker. Her arms still ached, though the bruises were fading. Tonight she'd definitely fight back.
Two from Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī on writing that I like very much:
Do you think I know what I'm doing? That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself? As much as a pen knows what it's writing, or the ball can know where it's going next.
Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.
From my own work in progress, Awaken. For context, the characters are climbing a mountain.
“I’m coming up.” My voice is steadier than my nerves. They flutter in my stomach like birds trapped in a too-small cage. There’s no other sound but the thick rush of wind ripping at our hair and our clothing and our confidence.
And a bonus line from a wonderful novel that I recently copy edited and can now be purchased, His Lady to Protect by Justine Covington:
Bright cheeks and sparkling eyes reminded Susannah of the conspiratorial laughs her mother had shared with this woman, and a lump the size of her mother’s gravestone formed in her throat.
From my high-risk pregnancy memoir.
Fear stalked through my childhood, a rabid dog that refused to be put down. As the child of a retired military officer, who cuddled his glittery narcissism beneath a shadowy cape of PTSD, I grew used to navigating a world filled with fear.
Your turn! Share a line you've written that you love, either from your current work in progress or a previously published book. Then the rest of us will show our love too!
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From my debut, Nowhere Near Goodbye, to be published this year:
I thought I’d heard the worst, but it turned out only to be the appetizer to the worst.
Ooh, I like that!
I LOVE that line!
This is YA Urban Fantasy, not dystopian but set a few years in the future (there's a little Cli-Fi tossed in for good measure):
"Just a few years ago, the world as we knew it changed drastically, and despite all evidence to the contrary, most people were still in denial. What’s worse, they played the victim to circumstances they helped create. But denying the truth doesn’t change the facts… I was in high school, and even I knew that."
Guys! Your lines are awesome! (looking at you, Jenny & Julie)
This from my Women's Fiction that's out on proposal now. Cross your fingers for me!
I was born to be a hippie.
I love these!
Haha! Love this. (And thank you, friend.)
Ha! I hope that is your first line. It's awesome. 🙂
We are crossing our fingers with you!!!
It IS! Thanks guys.
This is great, Laura! And good luck!
From my mountain hiking experience, applicable to life in general and writing in particular:
Don't lose altitude.
Three words--big message!
Right on! That's glorious in its simplicity.
Opening line from my "Dangerous Connections." No matter what Jinx's Klingon-spouting nephew said, today was not a good day to die, even if it wasn't his own ass on the line.
Oh my! Interest piqued!
I swear, Terry, first lines are your superpower.
If you count having to revise them 100 times or more 'superpower' then thanks!
Great idea! In honor of the occasion, this is from my memoir ms, about when I met my husband in college--in 1980!
I went gaga. That's how I've always described it: gaga, as in I couldn’t think about anything except how sexy his hairy forearm was. He wasn’t some macho jock or poly-sci blow-hard or stuck-up prep. He was sincere and kind and polite and respectful—the nicest guy I had ever met. I had found a keeper.
I love this so much! Especially how you can focus on something so specific ("his hairy forearm") when you're in the thick of love. That's the specific-becomes-universal that works in all writing.
Awwwwww. And 40 years later, I'll bet those forearms still make you gaga. 🙂
I'm editing and this line was one that I just read again and always makes me smile. My heroine is a female Black Hawk pilot and inadvertently ended up in a gathering of Army Special Ops guys, including the hero that regulations make off-limits to her:
There was so much testosterone in the room it could make a girl lightheaded.
Oh, that's good. Nicely done!
I surely would like to visit that room! 🙂
From a short story I just submitted for a contest. Twin siblings are fighting and this is how I described a facial expression:
In the right room, his active bastard face could have started a war.
Ha! I have siblings and I KNOW that face.
This is from the next James McCarthy book, due out in a couple of months. The scene is James' first encounter with Nestor's somewhat large canine companion.
As they stepped through the gate a loud bark burst through the screen door, followed by a bounding mass of white fur, teeth and tongue.
I can picture it! Well done.
Yup, I can see the BIG DOG in my mind. 🙂
From my almost finished, work-in-progress, Prophets Tango:
"The air moved again, high clouds parted, and a whole heaven of stars spread a canopy over them. The silhouette of the house loomed, windows empty. Silent. But the silence between the lovers was gone and, like it or not, they knew. Alone had been replaced by a bridge of knowing, the low hum of an irrevocable connection."
Wow, how lyrical. Love it!
It's lovely, Deborah. I particularly loved this: "Alone had been replaced by a bridge of knowing.."
Here's a couple from my current WIP:
Beats of silence dragged on, and Joe imagined the loaded air in the room coming at them like a giant heaving bubble about to pop. The grating squeal of Dad’s scraped back chair punctured the bubble, and their father’s rage blanketed the room, trapping them all.
Whoa. Well done.
Well done! I particularly love the power of this: "..their father’s rage blanketed the room, trapping them all."
Walking in, the smell of fresh coffee permeated her senses. While not her drink of choice, it was a soothing scent wafting through the café. An underlying aroma of southern biscuits and gravy mixed with the sizzling sound of bacon perked her up. Memories of breakfasts at her grandparents’ home as a child made her mouth water for something to eat.
I can totally smell that kitchen! Well done, Denise. 🙂
Good thing I already had breakfast, or my mouth would be watering even more! Nice.
From my current WIP:
Then, Jeremy had done the most unusual thing: he had smiled at her. An actual, real smile, that had spread all the way across his sunburnt face up to his grey eyes. A smile she knew so well by know but that had been the most unexpected gift back then.
That's a sweet smile, Nele! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. 🙂
Oh, I love a well-written smile! Thanks for sharing.
Not my best line ever, but the one that started an idea that turned into a full WIP. This is from my YA Contemp The New Truth:
If I’d been told that in just one week I’d be crouched in a dark corner, ducking from flashlights streaking through my bedroom window, watching red and blue lights from a police car swirl across my walls, I would’ve laughed.
That's a great tease!
It's not a "wow" kind of line, but I think it does exactly what I want it to:
A “few tests” turns out to be an understatement. I undergo a comprehensive battery of tests that takes days. Results: inconclusive.
Hmmm. Curious what this means for your character!
From my Women's Fiction novel, Between Yesterday and Never, that's been temporarily benched for revisions.
Her memory of those three days was as frayed and riddled with holes as a well-loved security blanket. But Anne had always been certain of one thing—she was the reason Robin was dead.