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Memorable Last Lines

Memorable Last Lines
Copyright 2019

“Memorable Last Lines” by Joan Y. Edwards

As writers you’ve heard many times, “Have a good hook. Have an opening that hooks the reader into staying for the whole show. In other words, have an opener that gets readers to keep reading your book until the very end.
Today I’d like to focus on the last words of your book, the message you want to resonate in the hearts of your readers for a really long time. The one you want them to keep hearing over and over. I’ve put the spotlight on the last lines of books and a few movies. Film makers choose many books to make into movies.
You want your readers to define the closing a good one…a satisfactory conclusion. And even more than that, you want the last words of your book to resonate in the ears and hearts of your readers for their lifetime. You want them to be memorable. They will be memorable if they are meaningful to your readers.
I found many links online to what others believe are the most memorable last lines of books and movies. I shared them in the resources section below.
It seems difficult to fathom anyone being able to read every book or to see all movies. However, if you’re like me, you love to read and you love to watch good movies. You read the books or watch the movies that meet a need of yours. You have your opinions about the books you’ve read or movies you’ve seen. 
I believe that like the beginning of books, the closing of books can also hook readers. I listed stories I’ve read or would like to read because of the impact, the closing had on me.  Some are serious and others are humorous, but all are meaningful to me. These closing lines hooked me. 
Please share your favorite last lines of books or movies with me.

 

30 Memorable Last Lines

  1. “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” –George Orwell, Animal Farm (1945)
  2. “It was a fine cry—loud and long—but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow.” –Toni Morrison, Sula (1973)
  3. “But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and civilize me and I can’t stand it. I been there before.”  –Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)
  4. “Maybe I will go to Paris. Who knows? But I’ll sure as hell never go back to Texas again.” –James Crumley, The Final Country (2001)
  5. “Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood; and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago; and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days. –Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
  6. “P.S. Sorry I forgot to give you the mayonnaise.”
    –Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America (1967)
  7. “Columbus too thought he was a flop, probably, when they sent him back in chains. Which didn’t prove there was no America.” –Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March (1953)
  8. “We shall never be again as we were!” –Henry James, The Wings of the Dove (1902)
  9. “Tell me how free I am.” –Richard Powers, Prisoner’s Dilemma (1988)
  10. “But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.” – A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner (1928)
  11. “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” – J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
  12. I taker her hand, squeezing it tightly, and we walk on. -Monika Schröder  My Brothers Shadow (2011)
  13. “But I knew that Catherine had kissed me because she trusted me, and that made me happy then but now I am sad because by the time my eyes close each night I suspect that as usual I have been fooling myself, that she, too, is in her grave.” –William T. Vollmann, You Bright and Risen Angels (1987)
  14. “Vaya con Dios, my darklin’, and remember: vote early and vote often, don’t take any wooden nickels, and”—by now I was rolling about helplessly on the spare room floor, scrunched up around my throbbing pain and bawling like a baby— “always leave ’em laughin’ as you say good-bye!” –Robert Coover, The Public Burning (1977)
  15. “I never saw any of them again—except the cops. No way has yet been invented to say goodbye to them. –Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye (1953)
  16. “He heard the ring of steel against steel as a far door clanged shut. –Richard Wright, Native Son (1940)
  17. “I ran with the wind blowing in my face, and a smile as wide as the valley of Panjsher on my lips. I ran.” – Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner (2003)
  18. Jerry: “But don’t you understand, Osgood? Oh… I’m a man!”
    Osgood Fielding: “Well, nobody’s perfect.” – Some Like It Hot Film adapted by director Billy Wilder and comedy writer, I.A.L. Diamond from Fanfare of Love, a story by Michael Logan.
  19. “I’m so glad to be at home again” – L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
  20. Jim: “Where you headed, cowboy?”
    Bart: “Nowhere special.”
    Jim: “Nowhere special? I always wanted to go there.”
    Bart: “Come on.” -Mel Brooks, Andrew Bergman, Richard Pryor, Norman Steinberg, and Al Uger, and was based on Andrew Bergman’s story and draft, Blazing Saddles.
  21. “But the miracle of it all is, when push comes to shove, we can be just as tough as hickory. It mostly burns at first. After a while it starts to feel better.” -Joyce Moyer Hostetter,  Blue
  22. E.T.: “I’ll be right here.” – Steven Spielberg, E.T. the Extraterrestrial
  23. Louis: “Looking good, Billy Ray!”
    Billy Ray: “Feeling good, Louis!” – 
    Timothy HarrisHerschel Weingrod,  Trading Places
  24. “But the sky was bright, and he somehow felt he was headed in the right direction.” – E.B. White, Stuart Little (1934)
  25. “Tomorrow, I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.” – Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind (1936)
  26. “And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!” – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843)
  27. “A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRATOR. I am haunted by humans.”- Markus Zusak, The Book Thief (2006)
  28. “The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.” –  J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 
  29. “But that is the beginning of a new story—the story of the gradual renewal of a man, the story of his gradual regeneration, of his passing from one world into another, of his initiation into a new unknown life. That might be the subject of a new story, but our present story is ended.” –Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment (1866; trans. Constance Garnett)
  30. “From here on in I rag nobody.” –Mark Harris, Bang the Drum Slowly (1956)

What Is a Pitch?

What is a pitch?

“What Is a Pitch?” by Joan Y. Edwards

The pitch is the structure of a story in a nutshell. A pitch is an eye catching, heart trapping short summary of your book or article. It can also be called your “Hook” or “Logline.” It’s a great selling point to include it in your query, cover letter and use it as a blurb on the back of your book. Get the pitch as close to 25 words as possible.

Write your pitch on a 3″x5″ index card. If you can’t get it all written on the front side of the card, it’s too long.

It’s a good idea to outline your plot and write your pitch first to make sure your plot works. To make sure that your plot is logical and events follow as a natural consequence. You can make sure the action your main character takes will help really solve the problem that is keeping him from achieving his goal.

Here are three examples of a good pitch.

  • Can clumsy Jill win beauty queen of her high school in spite of the fact that she dyes her hair purple, tripped their football team’s quarterback, and  spills red punch on the principal’s white suit?
  • Jason wants more than anything to be a pilot for Avery Aviation but his father won’t hire anyone in the family as a pilot.
  • Title: Tasteless Writer -Adam Conway- Genre: Comedy
    A world renowned taste tester/food critic loses his sense of taste and struggles to discover who he is once his one defining characteristic is gone.

A Good Pitch

Tells WHO A pitch tells you an adjective and the main character to answer the question who? a sixteen year old girl; a five-year-old boy; an anxious daughter; an obnoxious son, an honest clerk, or a feeble man.

Tells WHERE A pitch tells or hints at the location (the setting): beach, high school, desert, bedroom, top of skyscraper, city, small town

Tells WHEN (Especially, if it’s historical fiction)

Tells What Main Character WANTS  A pitch tells you what the main character wants more than anything else in the world. He is  willing to take death-defying action and change to get it. He will not stop until he gets it. Getting it is an obsession with him. He wants a skill, a prize, a friend. He wants to defeat an enemy. He wants to stop someone from doing something. He wants to get someone to do something.

Tells WHY? Why does this matter so much to the character? Why should we care?

Tells WHAT STOPS HIM? A pitch tells the lowest point of the story from which readers doubt that anyone, especially this character with these flaws, can succeed.

Questions to help you check the plot of your manuscript which might help you pinpoint ideas to put in your pitch.

 
WHAT’S your main character  WILLING TO DO? HOW IS HE WILLING TO CHANGE IN ORDER TO GET IT? WHAT IS HIS INNER AND OUTER STRUGGLE?

WHAT FIRST ACTION DOES HE TAKE in your story THAT HE FIRMLY BELIEVES IS GOING TO HELP HIM, but alas and alack, it puts him farther from his goal.

WHAT SECOND ACTION DOES HE TAKE that he believes  will help him and it puts him AT A DEEPER disadvantage.

WHAT THIRD ACTION DOES YOUR MAIN CHARACTER TAKE THAT PUTS HIM SO FAR DOWN IN THE DUMPS HE ALMOST GIVES UP.

UNTIL HE HAS AN AHA MOMENT AND FIGURES OUT THE IDEA AND ACTION THAT TAKES HIM ACROSS THE GOAL LINE OF SUCCESS

I hope that this blog helps you have a better idea of how to write a pitch. All points in the plot are interrelated and lead the main character to get what he wants or face defeat.

Resources

  1. 7 Reasons to Create a One-Page Pitch Before You Plan …
  2. How Writing Concept First Will Help Your Script & Pitch
  3. Top 100 Loglines for Scripts

Please let me know what techniques and guides you use to write your pitch.

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Never Give Up

What is a pitch?

Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards
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