Writing Wednesday - Favorite Lines

Have you ever read something and thought, "wow that's a really great line"? Of course you have. It's especially fun when you come across them in your own writing.

I (erica) heard about an editor (and a publishing company) asking for unagented submissions for YA romance, so I set aside my WIP and did a read-through on my completed project, A New Day, to get it ready to send out again. I had a few agents ask for partials and a few made comments on the first five pages, but everyone agreed I needed more "voice."


But they're probably right. So, I added some "voice" (um, some thousand words, to be close-to-exact) - not sure if it's enough, but it's getting there. And on my journey through my ms, I read some lines that I hope never get changed. They might not be good or mean anything to anyone else, but I love them.

If you'd like to know what they are, please read on, because I'm sharing. If you  feel comfortable enough to leave your own, please share in the comments section. Which lines do you love? (oh, and this is a safe place. no critiquing. these are lines we love.) (although if any of erica's suck rocks, feel free to privately email her!) Here we go:

It was the kind of smile that made me want to look at it forever. The kind that said if I stayed with him, my life would never be boring again. The kind that could get me into some serious trouble.

B:  "Maybe now you can give me some pointers. I am less than successful with Dylan lately. One phone call, a few texts, no dates." K:  "Thinking back, I'd have to suggest stalking."

"Kenz, you have an undeserved inferiority complex and it's time to get over it. Let's go remind those two who they came with."

God, I sounded like an idiot.

And folks, that's where I end.

Oh, wait, that's not the end, I'm also including one from my WIP, which has been collecting dust for a couple weeks while I did my edits (and progress notes, parent-teacher conferences, raising a family, etc., etc.): Twelve hours later, I watched her arrive in a VW Bug. Yep, a Slug Bug. The source of black-and-blue shoulders on young boys everywhere. Aunt Becky on wheels. (OMG I so want to be writing this book right now, but I'm stuck in Editing you-know-where and hopefullyigetdonesoonoriwillgocrazy!!!!)


  1. I know what you mean about favourite lines. I can definitely identify! As writers, we can only hope that our own favourite bits resonate with our readers too.

    What the heck did those agents mean by you needing more 'voice'? I'm sorry, when I hear things like that I have no idea what it even means. Do they mean they want you to show more of your unique personality as a writer? More of your MC's internal dialogue? Honestly, I'm struggling to make sense of that comment. It must have been so frustrating for you...

  2. I definitely get attached to lines--usually when my characters are being real smart asses, or channeling 'the Tart'. In the cozy my agent currently is looking at, I have a couple that illustrate this well: (Cam is my MC; Annie is her BFF)
    “Where's Samantha?” Madeline asked, seeking the board president for leadership.

    Everyone looked around, as if she were hiding in the room. Cam could have sworn Neil Patrick looked under the table.
    (and then this little string of dialog)

    She pressed the speed dial for Annie's number on her cell phone.

    “Hey Cam,” she answered.

    “Do I have a special ring tone or something?”

    “Of course you do! You're my Best Friend!”

    “What is it?”

    “That was it. 'You're My Best Friend.' Queen.”

    Cam laughed. “How long have you been waiting for that exact joke?”

    “Month or so.”

    Cam snorted. “So what are you doing?”

    “I'm naked.”

    “I think you missed that--I said ‘what are you doing?’ not ‘what are you wearing?’ With you, naked could mean just about anything.”
    It is probably apparent that Annie channels me... I had a great time with her.

  3. I absolutely LOVE some of my lines! I may think they're clever, or funny, or touching, etc. How horrible would it be to have someone tell you, "Oh, I'd take that out. That makes no sense at all." It's frustrating. And, voice? Another struggle. "They" don't want you to use cliches or "teen speak" or too many regional dialects or this or that. It just means we have to be that much more craftier with word/dialogue choice, I guess. *we can do it!*

    But, looks like you've got some good stuff to work with. Best of luck to you on your revisions!! :)

  4. Those are excellent lines! I think great lines are what keep me coming back to certain authors. They stick with you. Thanks for the reminder to infuse my own work with great lines!

  5. u will be fine, so have u sent it off?

  6. I felt the need to add some of my work, but I'm not comfortable doing it.... I love to write. I just don't love sharing it yet.

    Whistling broke into my happy silence. Well, not silence, really, since I stood in the school hallway. But the background noise could be tuned out. The piercing whistling could not.

    "I’ll give you your privacy and space. Even when your right eyebrow twitches and your cheeks are sucked in so far I worry you’ll swallow them. I won’t even give you the Heimlich when you choke. Walking away now. Have a nice life.”

    I opened my locker and threw my books in. If I were in a movie, they would have plunked right on the shelf where they were supposed to land. Mine plunked. And ker-plunked. One fell and caught on my backpack, one pounced on my foot and one skipped off my foot and into the hall.

    not erica

  7. oh christy, christy, christy. . .thanks for sharing!!

    Adina - if I ever figure out what they meant, I will definitely let you know! But yes, I think some of it has to do with internal dialogue and the infamous show, don't tell considering my ms is in 1st person. I realize now I first wrote it like it was in 3rd person, but inserted "I" instead of she (if that makes sense to you). I *think* I've really improved on that (and my readers say I have, too, yay!).

    I did have one agent do a line-edit, saying exactly what point she stopped reading and why, however, hers were some pretty "picky" edits - such as when I said my mc's hair whipped across her shoulders. As a person with long hair, I believe this could happen, however, the agent pointed out that hair can't actually "whip."

    Heather - thanks and good luck with your submission, too!

    Hart - lots of fun that you could insert yourself into a character, especially since you've told us this contract wasn't for a genre you worked much in before. Glad you're enjoying her/it!

    Donea - thanks. Yes, I think I do fall into regionalisms, christy and I have worked on figuring those out. When you live in the same place your whole life, you can't always pick them out!

    Joanna - not yet. Hopefully beginning of next week - Harlequin is accepting until Dec. 15th and the editor who put out the call hasn't set an end date, so hopefully I'll still squeak in there.

  8. Thanks for sharing- love the lines! Good luck on your submissions!! Honestly, I'm too lazy to open up my word documents and look for some lines. I know they're in there...


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