Today, I’m happy to welcome Donna Galanti, author of A Hidden Element. She’s talking about last lines, those last sentences in scenes or chapters or at the end of books.
Last Lines: In Books, In Life
By Donna Galanti
What makes you decide to buy a book? Do you open up to the first page and decide to buy based on the first paragraph, or even first line?
I have one writer friend who studies first lines. She roams a library or bookstore and randomly selects books to read their first lines then dissects them based on how drawn in she is. Did it grab her attention? Did it raise a question? Did it introduce the main character? And most importantly, does she want to keep reading?
Those first lines. They either grab you or they don’t. As writers, we only have a few seconds to impress readers enough so they will buy our book.
But what about those last lines? Those lines that complete a scene, chapter, or THE END itself that propel you to turn the page and read on, or that keep the story alive in your mind long after you’ve finished it.
One early reader of A Hidden Element was intrigued by the last lines of my chapters. She actually typed them up and sent them to me because she loved how each one ended like a cliffhanger and kept her reading.
Here’s a sampling of last chapter lines from A Hidden Element:
Killing was useful in so many ways.
The dark took her anyway.
She would do anything to save her family.
And that scared him more than anything.
She welcomed Death, but he did not come for her.
The nothing took him.
She didn’t want to ever let go.
She screamed and ran into a darker hell.
The last words he heard whispered were, “forever dead”.
The last thing he remembered was being dragged across cold stone, the wintry air on his face.
And it was not of this Earth.
He drifted away in it.
He looked up at the open door that welcomed him.
He stepped toward his future.
Would you turn the page to read the next chapter – and the next? When you read these chapter lines together do they tell a story to you?
And what about our last lines in life? They are the final cliffhanger we leave the world with, leaving those we leave behind to wonder about.
Here are some cliffhanger last lines from famous folks. Would you want to keep reading about their life? Would their life story resonate with you?
I have not told half of what I saw. –Marco Polo, Venetian traveler and writer.
Now I can cross the Shifting Sands. – L. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz. (The Shifting Sands are the impassable deserts surrounding the Land of Oz.)
Don’t disturb my circles! –Archimedes. Greek mathematician who was killed by the Romans, while proving geometric theorems in the sand before him.
Dammit…Don’t you dare ask God to help me. – Joan Crawford to her housekeeper who began to pray aloud.
Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies. – Voltaire when asked by a priest to renounce Satan.
Friends applaud, the comedy is finished. – Ludwig van Beethoven, composer.
I’m bored with it all. – Winston Churchill, statesman
Goodnight my darlings, I’ll see you tomorrow. – Noel Coward, writer
I must go in, the fog is rising. – Emily Dickinson, poet
What will be your last line?
ABOUT A HIDDEN ELEMENT:
Evil lurks within…
When Caleb Madroc is used against his will as part of his father’s plan to breed a secret community and infiltrate society with their unique powers, he vows to save his oppressed people and the two children kept from him. Seven years later, Laura and Ben Fieldstone’s son is abducted, and they are forced to trust a madman’s son who puts his life on the line to save them all. The enemy’s desire to own them—or destroy them—leads to a survival showdown. Laura and Ben must risk everything to defeat a new nemesis that wants to rule the world with their son, and Caleb may be their only hope—if he survives. But must he sacrifice what he most desires to do so?
PRAISE FOR A HIDDEN ELEMENT:
“Chilling and dark…a twisty journey into another world.” —J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of When Shadows Fall
“Fascinating…a haunting story…”—Rebecca Cantrell, New York Times bestselling author of The World Beneath
“Will keep you up long past your bedtime…a pulse-pounding read.”—Allan Leverone, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Final Vector
Donna Galanti writes murder and mystery with a dash of steam as well as middle grade adventure fiction. She is an International Thriller Writers Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element, A Hidden Element (August 2014), the short story collection The Dark Inside, and Joshua and The Lightning Road (Books 1 and 2, 2015). She’s lived in England as a child, and in Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna dreamed of being a writer when she fell in love with the worlds of Narnia and Roald Dahl attending school in a magical English castle where her dark imagination ran wild in an itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included). She now lives in Pennsylvania with her family in an old farmhouse. It has lots of writing nooks, fireplaces, and stink bugs, but she’s still wishing for a castle again—preferably with ghosts.
BUY THE ELEMENT TRILOGY BOOKS:
Purchase Book 2 in the Element Trilogy, A Hidden Element: http://amzn.to/1ANqwho
Purchase Book 1 in the Element Trilogy, A Human Element: http://amzn.to/VO4CuT
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