“Do you expect me to talk?”
“No, Mr. Bond; I expect you to die.”
A memorable line from a classic James Bond movie, Goldfinger. The rest of the script? It’s good. Makes a great movie. Worthy of a Pulitzer? Probably not, but it gets the job done. (Having Sean Connery read doesn’t hurt, either.)
Every Bond script has that one carefully crafted, sometimes cheesy, but always memorable line. Good novels have the same sort of thing. Hemingway, being Hemingway, had dozens of such lines in The Old Man and the Sea. I am fond of ” The sail was patched with flour sack and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat.” Love it.
Of course the Ian Fleming series is in the thriller genre, and the man himself had once outlined his thoughts on what requisite literary boxes needed to be checked to be successful in that universe. I am more of a mystery guy, a mashup of Agatha and Stout – Rex Stout. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
To wit: I have my culinary murder mystery, The Apple Pie Alibi. The first draft is being read, and I anticipate making corrections and clarifications soon. But what are my epic lines? What does my protagonist say that will stick with the reader for years, decades, perhaps, after the reader experiences the joy of eating fried chicken on a stick or a bourbon-infused chocolate pecan pie parfait?
Obviously I need to keep working.
But first, to give my reader a fair amount of time to get through the novel, I will be reading through an excellent set of writing resources, courtesy of the Mystery Writers of America. Check it out if you have time. And like someone else once said – “I’ll be back.”