Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Beauty of Brevity


“A great writer is one who can say the most
in the least amount of words.”
—Anonymous Judge in a contest I entered.

Hello, Julie here, and despite the fact that most of my books can be used as doorstops, I do believe the statement above bears some truth. Which is probably why the judge mentioned above did not score me very high on A Passion Most Pure. Sigh. Because the truth is, I’m just one of those 500+page authors who thinks the only definition of “brief” is Hanes underwear. 

But honestly, can I help it if I was at the end of the alphabetical line when God gave out talents, gifting me with verbosity rather than brevity?

Yes, I can. And so can you. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that most of our prose has to be short and succinct because frankly that would be pretty boring, and the majority of us would be out of business. But I am saying that we need to use our words wisely. It’s my contention that every single word we use in a sentence should have a purpose, be it for clarity, description, rhythm, pace, drama, analogy, etc.—or just plain beautiful sound. 

Another judge once told me that if our sentences are too beautifully written, to the point they stop a reader in his or her tracks just to reread it for sheer pleasure, that’s not a good thing. Apparently this judge felt that anything that stops the flow of the novel—including beautiful phrases or sentences—risks pulling the reader out of the story, thereby distracting from the overall pleasure. 

I couldn’t disagree more. 

Yes, I agree you NEVER want to pull a reader out of the story with things like:

Inaccurate Historical Facts (i.e. I originally had chocolate chip cookies in my WWI-era A Passion Most Pure when they weren’t invented until mid-30s)
Chalkboard Word Usage (i.e. words that are so wrong, they almost sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, such as one book I read where the author had the heroine “skipping up to her front door” during a tragedy)
Unfeasible Plot Points (you know, the kind that make you roll your eyes? )
Unnatural Dialogue
Incorrect Etymology (i.e. I have read some form of the term “wrap one’s mind/brain around it in at least six historical novels when this is clearly a modern term)
Trite or Overused Phrasing (i.e. At least half the novels I read have some form of the phrase “his/her smile did not quite reach his/her eyes, including my first book, so now when I see it in any book, I cringe).
—Poor Grammar or Typos (i.e. When I was a travel writer, the biggest typo I ever made was in a travel piece on Kauai in which I praised the island’s beaches with the following sentence: The island of Kauai is famous for its beautiful whores (should have been shores).
—Run-on sentences
—Lack of Clarity

But beautiful prose that captures your heart? Oh, honey, I highlight phrases like this in every book I read, often earmarking those authors as new favorites because of their gift with words. And I’m not alone, either. Check out this article by Jennifer Schafer of BuzzFeed on 51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature.

Soooo … I thought it would be fun to list some “beautiful” brief lines from some of my favorite authors including the Seekers, along with the author’s explanation (or mine) as to why they (or I) love their particular line(s). Keep in mind that my definition of “brevity” is a sentence or sentences that accomplish any of the following things in a mere sentence or so, packing more punch into a novel with the least amount of words.

—Inspires
—Educates
—Paints a Picture
—Reveals a Truth
—Is Clever
—Is Humorous
—Is Profound
—Challenges
—Transports the reader
—Steals One’s Breath
—Elicits Emotion

HERE WE GO:

1.) He wept. — The Bible, John 11:35. The shortest verse in the Bible, but surely one of the most potent and powerful in Scripture.

2.) My parents were lace-curtain Irish, righteous as three popes. —Irish Born by Nora Roberts. This is a line that has stayed with me when I used to read secular novels, and the reason is that in nine measly words, Nora Roberts painted an entire heritage for me that spoke volumes in very few words. 

3.) Too tiny for six and too thin for any age, she had long dark hair caught in a single, bedraggled braid and blue eyes awash in fear and wishes.Texas Tea by Mary Connealy from The Seekers new Historical Novella collection, With This Spark. I love this description by Mary because it paints such a vivid picture of the heroine as a child, plus the slight “sh” alliteration with “blue eyes awash in fear and wishes.”

4.) Though the air carried the scent of mowed grass, spring flowers and fresh-turned dirt, the vile odors that had clung to Max filled her nostrils still, as if he stood at her side, not laid out at her feet. The Bounty Hunter’s Redemption by Janet Dean, a strong sensory description that Janet says, “tugs at her heart when widow Carly recalls the terrible marriage she’d endured as she stands before her dead husband’s grave.”

5.) I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK TO THAT LIFE. EVER.Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman, who told me, “I received my copies of Stealing Jake last week and the sentence Tyndale put on the back slapped me upside the head. Seeing those ten words, bam, bam, bam, brought Livy’s struggle back full force. The line isn’t beautiful, but it is powerful.” I agree, Pam!


6.) Drops of rain fell, then paused. The wind increased, and the trees lining the road’s edge rubbed together, whining. — Healing the Lawman’s Heart by Ruth Logan Herne. Ruth likes this line because it’s “all about timing. Gods. Ours. Our ineptitude. Our inability to listen the first time.... when we really should.” I like it because of the word “whining,” soooo audible and visual!!

7.) He stepped into her personal space and she realized that the tantalizing aroma she’d smelled when she first walked into the house was the fragrance of coming home.No Time for Love from the With This Kiss Contemporary Collection by Tina Radcliffe, who says, “this is from the heroine's point of view as she realizes she has fallen in love with the hero. It succinctly says it all for her.” For me, too, Tina, because “coming home” for each of us often relates to smells.


8.) Hope had never served her well. — The Thorn Bearer by Pepper Basham. I Frankly, I had trouble picking just one of Pepper’s lines because she has a gift for unique phrasing. I chose this one because it’s short and powerful.

9.) He wanted desperately to stay, just a little while longer.  But he couldn't be here, in this place, with her.  It was calm here.  She was innocent and beautiful and perfect. 
         He was not.  He didn't want his mess or his mental illness or his past anywhere near her.  He wanted to protect her from a lot of things, but most of all from himself. A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade, who says, "These lines are among my favorites from A Love Like Ours because I love romance!  To me, it’s just plain old romantic when a tough, battle-scarred man (like Jake Porter) tries everything in his power not to fall for his heroine.  And can’t help falling for her anyway.  That struggle, that tension, is just so juicy to read!"

10.) And finally, since I’m obviously more familiar with my own favorite lines in my books AND because this is my blog, here’s a few phrases and lines from my books along with why I like them:

As writers, we are always looking for new ways to say things and bring emotions to the surface in a visual way, so I am especially fond of the following phrases because to me, they are like movie “action” clips that I can actually see, per a prior blog of mine, Keeping It "Reel" ... Or a "Novel" Approach to Putting a Movie in Your Reader's Mind.

A Passion Most Pure:

A sick feeling cowered in her stomach.

The oxygen swirled still in her lungs.

Heat roared to his cheeks.


AND here are a few full lines from my books and just why I like them:             
                            
He studied the strong line of her jaw, the lush, full lips so ripe for tasting, the graceful curve of her neck plunging toward a body that took his breath away. Friends? Not likely. Okay, for some reason, I love the word “plunging” here because it has a double meaning that applies to the hero as well, who is “plunging” into the waters of attraction against his will.

Dear God in Heaven, he wanted her … but he didn’t want her. I really like the accent-mark effect on the word “her” in this line, which to me, states two different feelings in the hero while using the same word.

His lips were white, his eyes red, and a vein in his temple throbbed a dangerous blue. Not a good color combination. This just makes me smile every time I read it, and if you knew the cantankerous hero, Mitch Dennehy, you’d smile too!

A woman who was a feast to his eyes but a drought to his soul. I am really fond of opposite analogies that describe the same person or thing because it deepens and broadens the description, in my opinion.  

His statement drifted in her brain, its impact silent, slow, and deep, like a knick she didn’t know she had until she saw the blood on her hand. I absolutely love this line, because as a person who gets a LOT of knife cuts in the kitchen because I don’t feel them, this perfectly describes how my character feels when the hero says something that shocks her to the core.

Why?” he asked quietly, and the word made her flinch, like a sudden shaft of light in a dark cellar where roaches and rats skittered. I hate roaches, and I flinch and freeze if I ever see them when I turn the light on in our basement. It’s an awful feeling, and one that describes my heroine’s reaction perfectly when a terrorizing truth about her is revealed.

Cluny sat ramrod straight on the couch like the garden gnome in the neighbor’s yard, displaying a nervous amount of teeth in a cast-iron grin. To me, a steel grin and spine screams guilt while the idea of a garden gnome also highlights the fact that 14-year-old Cluny is inside on a sunny day, much to the hero’s angst.

Sweet thunderation—deliver me from pretty men! For me, this line sets up the story in so little words—introducing a Texas heroine who’s been dumped at the altar by a fortune-seeking pretty boy.
Okay, we’re done, and this blog may not be brief, but it IS one of my shortest, so that has to count for something, right??? 

GIVEAWAY:
Now it’s your turn—tell us some of your favorite lines from your own work or from other authors, and I’ll enter you in the drawing for your choice of any of my books, including my upcoming indie novel, Isle of Hope, which releases this fall and is, by the way, my longest book to date. Sigh.

ABOUT JULIE:
In addition to being verbose, Julie Lessman is the award-winning author of The Daughters of Boston, Winds of Change, and Heart of San Francisco series, was named American Christian Fiction Writers 2009 Debut Author of the Year and voted #1 Romance Author of the year in Family Fiction magazine’s 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards. Julie has garnered 17 RWA and other awards and made Booklist’s 2010 Top 10 Inspirational Fiction. Her latest novel, Surprised by Love, appeared on Family Fiction magazine’s list of Top Ten Novels of 2014. Her indie book A Light in the Window is an International Digital Awards winner, a 2013 Readers' Crown Award winner, and a 2013 Book Buyers Best Award winner. 

You can contact Julie and read excerpts from her books at www.julielessman.com, or through Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest, as well as sign up for her newsletter. Check out Julie’s group blog, The Seekers, Writers Digest 2013, 2014, and 2015 “Best 101 Websites for Writers,” and Julie’s own personal blog, Journal Jots, voted blog of the month in the Readers’ Choice poll of Book Fun Magazine.




152 comments:

Tina Radcliffe said...

Beautiful lines. Love it.

“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

That line of mine is actually from No Time for Love, from the With This Kiss Contemporary Collection.

Melissa Jagears said...

ha! I love that we end the brevity post with "Isle of Hope is my longest book to date." Ahhhh, now I feel we've come back to full circle and all is right in Lessman world. ;)

I put up two of your sentences on goodreads years ago. Yours are the only two fiction sentences I've ever took the time to put on goodreads, so I'll go grab those. :)

"[T]welve year old Libby O'Shea coasted on a homemade swing, toes touching a blinding-blue heaven dolloped with clouds.”
― Julie Lessman, A Passion Denied

I really should put up more quotes....


“The moon hung heavy over the lake like an overripe orange, trickling its golden stream of light across inky depths.”
― Julie Lessman, A Passion Denied

Mary Preston said...

Great lines thank you.

I always think that the very first lines of any book are some of the most important.

bonton said...

No better way to end my day than with a smile from reading your post, Julie!!

As you know, I have that "gift" of verbosity also. Many people, when I was in school, would have thought that the least likely gift a girl who walked down the halls with her head down - would ever inherit, likewise, my transparency. Guess I either have the phrase "more is better" ingrained in my brain or, like you, couldn't contain that passion any longer.

Speaking of passion - since I have every book you've written, and in every form available, that passion in each book is what makes every line beautiful to me and too difficult to choose my favorites. So, will follow Melissa's lead and list just a few of the quotes from Goodreads that your readers have listed as their favorites-starting with the one most favored:

(1) "Trust is not an obsession, it's an extension of love. When we truly love someone, we give them our heart to hold in their hands. And when that love is returned, that very trust is balm to our souls."

(2) "He's waiting to love you like you've never been loved before." (A Hope Undaunted)

(3) "Forgiveness is really just another word for freedom."

(4) "No one escapes being hurt in this life, because unfortunately, we live in a fallen world. But please believe me when I say there's a great gift in pain." (A Heart Revealed)

(5) "I've barely ever thought about Him. ... That doesn't mean he hasn't thought about you. You own a piece of God's heart, like a piece of puzzle that's missing. A piece nobody else can fill." (A Hope Undaunted)

(6) "I was young once, you know. Truth be told, I still am. Now, if I can convince my mirror." (A Heart Revealed)

(7) "Peace ... He should market it! ... He does every day. Through grateful pieces of the puzzle like you and me." (A Hope Undaunted)

(8) "For once I've met a girl whose beauty on the inside is so powerful and deep, the surface beauty is almost secondary." (Surprised by Love)

(9) "For years he had possessed her dreams, but she'd been the master of those dreams. Now, he possessed her memory, and there was nothing she could do about it." (A Passion Most Pure)

(10)"I think of life as very much like a game. The one who created it gave us the rules by which it is to be played, rules designed to help us win, rules to help us be happy. The problem is many times we choose to play by our own rules, and then we're at a loss to understand why we never win." (A Passion Most Pure)

After reading your post on brevity, I'm smiling at the closing comment re: your future release of Isle of Hope being your longest book to date - also smiling at the joy I'll experience when holding it in my hand. Never get enough of that verbosity and passion of yours, my friend!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

"Ahhhh, now I feel we've come back to full circle and all is right in Lessman world. " LOLOLOLOL

Tina Radcliffe said...

Bonton! Well done dear!!

Barbara Scott said...

Brevity is highly overrated, Mr. Jefferson. Unlike him, I love to wallow on the banks of a good novel and plunge into the raging current of words to be swept away by a great story. (Too much?)

Anyway, rather than pluck a book off my groaning bookcase, I thought I'd use the best line of this post. As Ruthy would say, it's spew-worthy (in a good way):

"Because the truth is, I’m just one of those 500+ page authors who thinks the only definition of 'brief' is Hanes underwear."

I can hardly wait for your next book, Julie! Please, please, pretty please put me in the drawing for Isle of Hope--whine, whine, whine.

Jackie said...

Julie,

I started reading your post with a laugh (Hanes briefs), and I smiled all the way through.

The first sub I sent to a critique loop, the author told me to tighten my writing. Whoever that was would love your post today.

Thanks so much for the reminder that every word should count!

(I could tighten this comment to...Thanks for the laughs and advice. Good day!)

Julie Lessman said...

GOOD MORNING ALL! Although "good" might be stretching it since it's raining in Lake of the Ozarks ... AGAIN! We've had so much rain lately, they had to enforce a "no wake" policy over the weekend of the 4th, which doesn't happen very often. Good thing I love rain and have a covered deck to write on! :)

Speaking of "no wake," that's how I felt this morning, like Nooooooo ... do NOT wake me up!! But I've got to get cranking earlier than usual since I will be on the road six hours today (bad news), picking up our daughter from the airport in St. Louis (good news), so my responses may be spotty. But I will get to each and every comment, so make them "BRIEF" ... a little early-morning humor (very little, I assure you!).

Anyway, I have lots of fresh, hot coffee for you -- from hazelnut to cinnamon to caramel machiatto and regular, along with a selection of teas and an omelet/pancakes/waffle station. Oh, and don't forget the maple-cured bacon and sausage, so DIG IN!!

HUGS,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

HEY, TINA ... my apologies for posting the wrong book, but it's all fixed now, so thanks for letting me know.

I don't know who this Friedrich Nietzsche character is, but I'm guessing he's not real popular at cocktail parties ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MELISSA SAID: "ha! I love that we end the brevity post with "Isle of Hope is my longest book to date." Ahhhh, now I feel we've come back to full circle and all is right in Lessman world. ;)"

OUCH ... that hurts, Melissa, and all is NOT "right in Lessman world" because it's (or was!) 6:30 AM in the morning when I rolled out! Keep in mind that I am a semi-retired lake brat now, so early mornings are not my thing. But when I grow up (mmm ... I wonder if it will ever realllly happen), I want to be like Ruthy, Mary, and Tina (and probably ever other Seeker), who ALL get up before the crack of dawn to be productive. :)

AW ... you just redeemed yourself with those quotes, my friend -- few people get me to smile this early in the morning, but you just did -- THANK YOU!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MARY PRESTON ... I totally agree with you, my friend -- I dearly love first lines -- they are one of my favorite subjects. SO much so, in fact, that I wrote one of my favorite blogs about them called:

THE PERFECT PICKUP LINE

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

BONNIE!!! What a WONDERFUL way to kick off my day, my sweet friend -- I miss you!! Trust me, on my 6-hour trek to and from St. Louis today, my first order of business will be to answer your last email, so thanks for your patience!

YOU SAID: "Guess I either have the phrase "more is better" ingrained in my brain or, like you, couldn't contain that passion any longer."

LOL ... I think the answer is "passion," girlfriend, because we both have it in spades, which is one of the reasons we get along so well and are best buds. :)

Oh my goodness, THANK YOU for listing all of those quotes from Goodreads -- that blesses the socks off of me because 1st, I'd forgotten that people do that on Goodreads and 2nd, it's like a walk down Memory Lane, reading them all again. :)

LOVE YOU!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

BARBARA, YES, YES, YES ... Brevity IS highly overrated, so I'm glad we're in the same camp on that one!!

"Unlike him (Mr. Jefferson), I love to wallow on the banks of a good novel and plunge into the raging current of words to be swept away by a great story. (Too much?)"

Oh, no, no, no ... this wonderful sentence is NOT too much, my friend, but as Goldilocks would say, "just right." LOVE IT!!

"Because the truth is, I’m just one of those 500+ page authors who thinks the only definition of 'brief' is Hanes underwear."

LOL ... would you believe my husband and I had a terse conversation over that line? Well, more over the picture of briefs I wanted to put in with it (withOUT a model) because he worries I'm too candid and too "out there" at times. I am, but at the ripe, old age of 65 (in a few short months), it's a little late to change now ... ;)

By the way, Barbara, I left a very late comment for you on Audra's post last week and figured you wouldn't see it, so I thought I'd repost it here, my friend.

"BARBARA SCOTT ... I feel the need to tell you that I think you are AMAZING, and I am soooo glad you have joined the ranks of us writers!! When you were an editor, I shied away because editors do that to me, but now that you're one of us author types, I love hanging out with you on Seekerville. You are a WONDERFUL addition to the village, my friend, so GOD BLESS YOU in your writing career!"

And it's the truth!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JACKIE ... I am sooooo glad you didn't "tighten" your comment because you made me smile too!

And, YIKES, I'm glad I'm not in your critique group -- they'd throw me out!!

Have a great day, my friend!

Hugs,
Julie

Barbara Scott said...

Okay, so begging isn't pretty. LOL When your book goes live on Amazon, please let us know so I can buy it, Julie. Can't wait!

BTW, are you on the south side of Lake of the Ozarks? I spent a lot of my growing up years in Springfield, MO, and have scads of family there. I don't envy your drive today.

DebH said...

Julie
I wish I had your problem of verbosity. I lean to the side of brevity, but not necessarily good brevity. My favorite line ever is from a movie, not a book:

"You're everything I never knew I always wanted." -Alex "Fools Rush In" 1997

I have too many books and too many cool phrases to try anything else. Plus, I'm at work *sigh*.

Btw, Julie, you're books never SEEM to be long-worded. For me they're just right. Which means I'd love to be in the draw for another one. :)

Caryl Kane said...

Good Morning Ladies of Seekerville! I agree opening lines are so important. I don't want to go around the mountain in order to drawn into the story. I enjoy reading each of your perspectives. Have a great day!

JULIE, have fun dancing in the rain....

Janet Dean said...

Julie, enjoyed reading all these terrific examples! Like you, I love to reread lines that not only enrich the story with depth and beauty, they enrich the reader.

Jefferson didn't write fiction.

Janet

Cindy Regnier said...

Good advice and laughs too. I love Julie books just the way they are so please put my name in the hat for another. I think moderation is the key here. Do not pull the pen's corset so tight one cannot bask in the words it breathes.

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, BARBARA ... "begging" is not only permissible, my friend, it's COVETED by most authors when it comes to their books (probably not the Thomas Jefferson kind of authors, I suppose, or Tina's friend, Friedrich Nietzsche, but definitely this one! ;))

We're on the southeast side of Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, so if you EVER get up (or down) this way, your name is mud if you don't let me know, you hear? Of course "mud" would fit right in right now with all the rain the Lake is having ... But seriously, Barbara -- I would LOVE to get together with you if you do come by this way, so promise you will, okay?

And I don't envy the drive either, in nonstop rain. Sigh. Which means I'll have to give Keith more than my token 30 minutes of talking before working on my computer ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

DEB H ... Ooooooo, GREAT LINE, my friend:

"You're everything I never knew I always wanted." -Alex "Fools Rush In" 1997

Would you believe I've never seen Fools Rush In??? I've seen clips and bits and pieces here and ther, but it sounds like I need to see it from start to finish.

You also said: "Btw, Julie, you're books never SEEM to be long-worded. For me they're just right."

Ah-hah!! The operative word being "SEEM," which means they are and you're either being reallllly nice or I need to take a few steps towards ol' Tom Jeff's camp. ;) Seriously, Deb, thanks for the sweet comment and double thanks for dropping by at work. If you get in trouble, I promise to take all the blame ... :)

Hugs and GOOD LUCK!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CARYL ... yes, I would have to say that opening lines, for me at least, are one of THE most important things in a book I'm looking to read. I mean, if they can hook me in one or two lines at the get-go, I'm pretty sure the odds are good they can hook me the rest of the way!

And, "dancing in the rain"??? I actually did a very loud (and very obnoxious, I'm sure) rendition of Singing in the Rain for a grade-school talent show once, twirling umbrella and all, but I assure you, my friend, there will be no dancing or singing today, but probably plenty of slipping and sliding and hugging my daughter's neck!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JANET SAID: "Jefferson didn't write fiction."

Ooooooo, good one, Janet! Take that, Tom and Friedrich!!

Hugs,
Julie

Kelly Goshorn said...

Hi Julie, I'll have to join the crowd and say your "briefs" line made me chuckle out loud! I can just imagine you adding a visual. You must keep your hubby on his toes! Good for you! But, for me, the best line might have been your mistake of swapping "whores" for "shores" reminding me why editors earn every penny! Hilarious now but maybe not so much back then!

As far as favorite lines go, I have to say Julie this one from A Passion Most Pure got me hooked. "Sisters are overrated she decided. Not all of them, of course, only the beautiful ones who never let you forget it." Two opening sentences and I sighed. I knew I would love every word in that "book stop"! Well done, Julie!

This is one of my favorites from Richard Sheridan's script for The Rivals and seemed appropriate for today's discussion and who doesn't love a good malapropism? If you're not sure what she's trying to say, that's the beauty of Mrs. Malaprop's character and the intended words are listed below the quote.

"Sure, if I reprehend any thing in this world it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs!"
[apprehend, vernacular, arrangement, epithets]

Please toss my hat in the ring for a copy of Isle of Hope!

Julie Lessman said...

"Do not pull the pen's corset so tight one cannot bask in the words it breathes."

CINDY!!!! That is so cool, my friend -- did you write that?? I love anything with the words "corset, bask, or breathes" anyway, so this sentence is just plain AWESOME!!

Hugs and GOOD LUCK in the contest!!

Julie

Kelly Bridgewater said...

Love this, Julie. I'll share two quotes from two of my favorite series of books:

1) "I am," said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there." Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis

2) "What are we holding onto, Sam?" Frodo asks.
"That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo . . . and it's worth fighting for."
The Two Towers, J. R. R. Tolkien

Love these quotes! :). Can't wait for your next release, Julie!

Julie Lessman said...

WHOOPS, KELLY GOSHORN ... talking about keeping one on his or her toes!! Mrs. Malaprop's statement sure did a double-take on me. I've never read The Rivals, but Mrs. Malaprop sounds like just the gal to get me to do so -- thanks for introducing me to her!

I'm glad I could give you a laugh over the Hanes comment AND over the whores of Hawaii too. You're entirely correct in saying it was definitely NOT "hilarious" back then ... uh, until I was able to stop the printing company before it went to press. WHEW!!

AND thank you, too, my friend, for making the first line of APMP one of your faves. It's one of my faves, too, because it sets the tone for the entire story in one sentence.

Have a great day, Kelly, and stay dry if it's raining where you are!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

KELLY!!! Love, Love, LOVE those quotes, too, so thank you for sharing them. The first one gave me warm chills, and the second is just plain wonderful!!

I can't wait for my next release either, my friend, because that means I will have gotten it done and out there so I can move on to the next project! :)

GOOD LUCK in the contest and HUGS!!
Julie

Mary Hicks said...

Loved your post, Julie! :-)

If I was famous and truck load rich, I'd change a few of the 'Don't Dos' of writing we're cautioned about today. Writing can be tightened until all the juice is squeezed out of the story.

I love to come across a sentence that makes me stop and re-read for the pure pleasure of the way the author has put words together. The only negative about that is, it makes me wish that I'd written it. :-)

Barbara Scott said...

Julie, I've been to Osage Beach many times!!! In fact, I think the last time was on one of our anniversaries and it rained while we were there. What a small world! Mike and I rented an aluminum fishing boat with a tiny motor and when a big cigar boat roared by, I was launched off my seat by the wake and back into my husband's lap. Nearly had a heart attack.

I'll definitely let you know the next time I make a trip back home to Springfield. (We're in the Nashville area.) I promise!! I'd LOVE to get together over a cup of coffee and swap stories. :)

kaybee said...

Julie, these are excellent examples. It's all about turning a phrase. Each sentence counts. I'm kind of scattered today and can't think of any examples, but yours were great.
Kathy Bailey

Vince said...

.
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
.
Beat that!

Hallee Bridgeman said...

"His statement drifted in her brain, its impact silent, slow, and deep, like a knick she didn’t know she had until she saw the blood on her hand."

That's an amazing line.

Hallee

Mary Hicks said...

I'm reading Kate Morton's The Secret Keeper—a New York Bestseller.

She starts the first page and a half with setting and descriptions . . .

She uses 'was' eight times and wasn't twice in a seven line paragraph . . . ( I'm told not to do that )

Her book is 484 pages . . . ( I'm hearing that readers today want the short 200 page stories )

But, I love her books! I love the way she writes.

It's very frustrating to a new writer to see the 'rules' being broken and yet she's a NYBS. And her books—at least to me and apparently a lot of others—are fun to read.

So, Julie, go ahead and fly in the face of brevity!:-)

DebH said...

Julie
I guess I should clarify. If your books are long - I never noticed because the story was so great. That's what I meant with my SEEM. To me, your books are the perfect length because your heroes are so swoon worthy and the HEAs so, well... happy.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I am soo (VINCE!!!!) guilty of writing too long sometimes.

And in my novella "All Dressed Up in Love" some reviews said it was too much, too soon, but I kind of shrug off both because just as many people compliment the opposite!

A writer's conundrum!

I noticed with The Nora, that I didn't care if a book was long... or short. I liked the style. Now I didn't follow her into witchcraft/spells to make "things" even better, but that earlier stuff was fun, action-filled, quick paced writing and I didn't care a whit about POV's.

I still don't. I can still pick up one of those rule-breaking MacGregor stories and laugh out loud.

So I love beautiful words, but I also recognize the love of a reader for an author.

Julie, this is an exemplary look at how words can bind, blend and buffer a scene! Thank you for including me with this, it is an honor!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Bonnie, you rocked it!!!!

Myra Johnson said...

What a fun post, Julie! I just love coming across amazingly and beautifully crafted lines in a book. My pick for today is from Lisa Wingate's The Story Keeper, which I just started reading yesterday. Here are the opening lines:

This is the glory hour. This is the place the magic happens. The thought fell quietly into place, like a photographer’s backdrop unfurling behind the subject of a portrait.

Vince said...

"Brevity is the patron saint of those with nothing to say and a fear of public speaking."

"Brevity is the hobgoblin of those who think the purpose of a novel is to get it over with."

Barbara Scott said...

Vince, GREAT LINES!! Can I quote your quotes on brevity? :-)

Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

Interesting post, Julie, especially being written by you. I think you point out how such absolutes, as used by your erroneous judge, fail to serve us well in general. I love so many of your lovely words that I could spend the rest of the day writing them here as examples but maybe I better finish the last chapter of my current book. It was supposed to be a novella, coming in at a planned 20K, got hijacked by a beer baron, and is going to push 50K instead. Would it have been better if kept succinct? Doubt it. Hugs!!!

Julie Lessman said...

MARY HICKS SAID: "If I was famous and truck load rich, I'd change a few of the 'Don't Dos' of writing we're cautioned about today. Writing can be tightened until all the juice is squeezed out of the story."

PREACH IT, girlfriend!! That's how I felt when I was trying to get A Passion Most Pure published with over six POVs and too many kisses!!

YOU ALSO SAID: "I love to come across a sentence that makes me stop and re-read for the pure pleasure of the way the author has put words together. The only negative about that is, it makes me wish that I'd written it. :-)"

Oh, I do too, Mary, and yes, I always wish I'd written it, but the pleasure it gives me overrides any jealousy -- almost -- especially if it's a friend.:)

Hugs,
Julie

Vince said...

"Always leave them wanting more."
P.T. Barnum


"But make sure they got their money's worth."
Vince

Vince said...

Hi Barbara:

I'd be happy to have you quote them. They're just hot off the top of my head. You might let them cool first. : )

Julie Lessman said...

BARBARA, NOOOOOO!!! I am so sorry to hear that, but unfortunately that's all too common an occurrence down at the Lake, where the Cigarette and Formula clowns think they're in a Miami Vice rerun! But look at it this way -- at least you landed in your hubby's lap, a really nice place for a kiss or two, especially on one's anniversary, right??

Actually, Keith and I had a similar situation when we were anchored in a really lovely cove by the state park many years ago, me reading and sunning in the open bow of our TINY boat while Keith fished. Two guys from Ft. Leonard (they were in a military rental boat) buzzed by, skiing, and we watched them as they came closer and closer. They finally turned on a dime when they got realllllly close to our boat, and the skier angled his skis to send a tsunami our way, drenching me, my book, our boat, and my husband. I am the one with the temper in our family, and my hubby is as even-keel as you can get. But boy, oh boy, did he get mad!! So much so, he pulled up anchor and gave them chase for miles before I convinced him to calm down and go back to our cove -- a first for this Irish-tempered girl!!

PLEASE, PLEASE do, Barbara -- would absolutely LOVE to meet you and your hubs in person!!

Hugs,
Julie

Kav said...

Great post, Julie...though I'm relieved that your next release won't embrace brevity in page count anyway. I love your way with words and how you paint an image in my head that sticks there.

So just finished Susan Anne Mason's Irish Meadows -- LOVED it. Here's a delicious sentence at the beginning of an equally delicious kissing scene.

"Like a caged bird trying to take flight, her heart soared and bumped against her ribs."

Doesn't that make you want to read the whole scene?

Kathryn Barker said...

Y'all are making me homesick for the Ozarks...my grandpa had a farm there...now owned by a lovely Amish family. And the other side of my family just had a reunion in Springfield...without me!

Loved this post, Julie. Want to share it with one of my dear writer friends who is verbose...she'll feel vindicated!

I'm supposed to be packing for a trip to Oregon, but couldn't resist stopping to check in...so, I really do have to be brief!

A first line...and a fav from a new book my daughter gave me...."The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling and re-weaving the way I understand life." Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. Perfect description of my life at this juncture.

Wish I had more time...downing my cuppa and packin' up!

Julie Lessman said...

Thanks, KATHY BAILEY, and you will think of some as the day goes on, I'm very sure. Think of all the great lines in movies such as "Make my day," or "You complete me."

So come on back with some of your own or from other books or movies, okay?

Hugs and happy hunting!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

VINCE!!! Have I told you lately just HOW much I love you and your AMAZING brain?????

That has to be my most FAVORITE line in any book or movie and yet I failed to put it in my blog today. I am MORTIFIED!!!

Thank you for correcting that unbelievable oversight on my part. You are THE MAN!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Okay, HALLEE ... you just made my day, girlfriend!!!! WOW, when a respected peer agrees with me on a favorite line, that is just pure joy, so THANK YOU!!

I'd love to hear some of your faves from your book, my friend.

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

MARY HICKS SAID: "So, Julie, go ahead and fly in the face of brevity!:-)"

LOL ... I'm flying, Mare, trust me ... especially in my indies!! ;)

You and I definitely think alike, my friend. Rules are good, but sometimes when it comes to writing, they do more hurting of creativity than helping. Just look at e.e. cummings -- one of the FEW poets I actually know and like. :)

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, DEB H ... PLEASE know that I was just joshing with you, my friend ... you did not offend me IN THE LEAST, truly, so PLEASE don't feel the need to explain. And thank you for the sweet comment -- you are SUCH a doll!!

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

S. Trietsch said...

Of course when asked I'm blank on favorite lines. After reading so many of the comments and as an unpublished newby it's very encouraging to be reminded of the big names that break the rules. Doesn't mean I should but that I shouldn't edit something 'good' out because it falls outside the accepted norm!

Stephanie

Julie Lessman said...

RUTHY, I could not NOT include you, my friend -- your lines have tugged more tears and laughter from me than I can count, so you are a must have in a blog like this!

And, yeah, I miss Nora's earlier work a lot because she truly is a gifted writer, so her success is well earned.

You sure can't please everybody, that's for darn sure, as we have all learned with less-than-gracious reviews, but I, too, am learning to shrug them off, believe it or not. Not as quickly as you, mind you, but getting there ... :)

Hugs,
Julie

Vince said...

Hi Julie:

I think you have memorable sentences and clever sentences and succinct sentences but where are the beautiful sentences describing the grandeur of nature?

I'll tell you where: they're in one of Audra's early books when a main character looks out from the Rocky Mountains and the reader sees the awe inspiring beauty thru the eyes of the character. You see the beauty as you feel the love the character has for his majestic homeland.

Indeed that passage took me out of the story and placed me back at the top of the Continental Divide where I stopped the car and was mesmerized by the sheer beauty before me. You bet I read that passage more than once and I never felt more 'at one' with a character before!

I wrote about this passage before but I can't find it right now since I had a print book that I lost. Kindle never gets lost!

Vince

Julie Lessman said...

MYRA QUOTED LISA WINGATE: "This is the glory hour. This is the place the magic happens. The thought fell quietly into place, like a photographer’s backdrop unfurling behind the subject of a portrait."

WOW. And now we see one of the reasons why this gal reels in so many awards!! GREAT LINE, Myra, thank you for sharing it with us.

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

VINCE SAID: ""Brevity is the patron saint of those with nothing to say and a fear of public speaking."

"Brevity is the hobgoblin of those who think the purpose of a novel is to get it over with."

LOL ... you ALWAYS make me smile or laugh, my friend! I envy your wife for all the charm and wit you must bring to your marriage!

Hugs and more hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CARRIE SAID: "It was supposed to be a novella, coming in at a planned 20K, got hijacked by a beer baron, and is going to push 50K instead. Would it have been better if kept succinct?"

LOL, that is TOOOOO FUNNY, girlfriend, and WHOA, I'll need to read this book pronto after it's finished, so hurry up!! And, yes, written by you it still would have been good, but not as much good as 30K more with beer!! ;)

Get crackin', girl!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

"But make sure they got their money's worth."
Vince Mooney.

YES, YES, YES, a truly apt quote from the author of the truly amazing "rewards-per-page" philosophy!!


And now I will leave you with another great Vince Mooney quote: “Some famous quotations amount to putting lipstick on a pig. The pig is not more beautiful but the sight is more memorable.”

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

VINCE SAID: "hey're just hot off the top of my head. You might let them cool first. : )"

You're just killing me today, Vince, because you are on SUCH a roll. Sooooooo cute!!

Hugs,
Julie

Sandy Smith said...

Great post, Julie. I love reading great phrases in books and I will stop to read it again, but it doesn't take me out of the story. I don't think anyone should be accused of writing too beautiful a line. I can never come up with a favorite line off the top of my head, though. Please enter me in the giveaway. I would love to win another of your books!

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, thanks, KAV, for your sweet comment -- MUCH appreciated!!

And isn't Susan's book WONDERFUL??? I actually have read that great scene you reference below and loved it and the book A LOT, so thanks for sharing.

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

KATHRYN BARKER SAID: "Y'all are making me homesick for the Ozarks...my grandpa had a farm there...now owned by a lovely Amish family. And the other side of my family just had a reunion in Springfield...without me!"

OH. MY. GOODNESS!! I'll bet I've eaten there, Kathryn, because we went to dinner with friends at an Amish farm once, and I remember thinking, "wait ... the iced tea doesn't have ice in it ... The food was OUTSTANDING, of course and the ambiance charming, but I'm an ice queen, unfortunately (but only in my drinks), so I did miss it a wee bit. :(

YES, DO share this with your verbose friend. After all, verbose people need love too. :)

Ooooo, Oregon -- I'm jealous! Praying your packing gets done and your trip is great!. Loved this post, Julie. Want to share it with one of my dear writer friends who is verbose...she'll feel vindicated!

Gorgeous quote by Shauna Niequist, girl, so thanks for sharing.

Hugs and happy and safe journey!!

Julie

Kav said...

Okay -- just popped in because I found another one. This is fun because you're making me more aware of the kind of phrasing that pops an image into my head.

Just started The Cactus Creek Challenge by Erica Vetsch and here's the hero's take on the heroine:

"And not just any girl, but Cassie Bucknell, the fire-headed tomboy who had always been more trouble than a wagonload of barbed wire?"

Now there's an image firmly fixed in my mind for the rest of the read.

Julie Lessman said...

STEPHANIE, I totally agree!! The big authors got there by writing riveting prose readers love, not by a long line of strict rules, so go for it, girl! Of course, when was is trying to get published, some rules have to followed, of course, so don't go hog-wild till after the call, okay? ;)

Hugs and GOOD LUCK, both in this contest and in your writing. :)

Julie

Julie Lessman said...

VINCE SAID: "I think you have memorable sentences and clever sentences and succinct sentences but where are the beautiful sentences describing the grandeur of nature?"

Not in my books, Vince, that's for darn sure, because I have trouble painting settings, but I TOTALLY agree that Audra is a master at it. Every single time I read one of her books, I am THERE, smack dab in the desert or on a mountaintop with the wind fluttering my hair, so good choice, my friend. Another expert at this is Laura Frantz, who I did ask for a clip, but she's crazy busy right now.

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

I agree, SANDY SMITH, "I don't think anyone should be accused of writing too beautiful a line," either. And they don't take me out of the story one little bit. If anything they totally enhance the story for me. :)

Thanks for coming by, and how much you want to bet you come back later after a special line pops into your head???

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

KAV QUOTED ERIC VETSCH:
"And not just any girl, but Cassie Bucknell, the fire-headed tomboy who had always been more trouble than a wagonload of barbed wire?"

OH. MY. GOODNESS!! THAT is HYSTERICAL and sooooooo darn good!! Gotta get my mitts on that one ...

Thanks for sharing, Kav, and bring on all the lines you love anytime you want. :)

Hugs,
Julie

bonton said...

Kav, hold on to your seat - I've read about 1/2 of The Cactus Creek Challenge, and loving it!! There are numerous lines/scenes ahead to plant those images in your mind. Erica's way with words has me laughing out loud - and getting my exercise at the same time, lol!!

Missy Tippens said...

I love these lines you shared! You're so right about how they stick with us sometimes. I think because they're so visual.

Although, I'm slinking away because I'm sure I've had smiles not quite reach the eyes!! LOL

Missy Tippens said...

I agree, Sandy! Reading a great line doesn't take me out of the story. I just kind of slow to savor it and then move on.

Becky Wade said...

For me, reading a beautiful line doesn't detract at all from the story, it enhances it. Absolutely! If I do go back and reread something because I loved it and want to savor it, that's a bonus. That's icing.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the examples you posted from the work of different authors because they show skill, brevity, and the variety in our different voices. Love that! Thanks for including a snipped from A Love Like Ours, Julie. Great post!

Sydney Anderson said...

Here are some quotes that I enjoy from the work of Jane Austen:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possesionof a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
--Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

"A girl likes to be crossed a little in love now and then. It is something to think of."
--Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

"I may have lost my heart, but not my self-control."
--Jane Austen, Emma

"I cannot make speeches, Emma...If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it."
--Jane Austen, Emma

Sandra Leesmith said...

Wow Julie, you always find the most interesting things to post. I love it when a line hits me or a piece of prose. And often it breaks every rule like it could be telling instead of showing. LOL. But then I grew up on those old telling novels. smile

Loved your examples, especially those from your books. You have some wonderful prose. And personally I like the slow moving long novels that keep me in that world longer. I get so disappointed when that world ends so fast. With your books, not only can we stay in that world for those "500" pages, but you write several books in that world. yay. I love how you do that.

Vince said...

“A too beautiful sentence sends me into liminal space where the only way back is thru the story.”

“Brevity is next to Divinity.
Twiggy

“Brevity is Anorexia’s younger sister.”

“Like freedom, brevity is having nothing left to lose.”

***
Nihilism in a Nutshell

“God is Dead.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

“Friedrich Nietzsche is dead.”
God

(Nihilism in less than ten sentences.)

Debby Giusti said...

Julie, your analogies are amazing. Do they come easily? I'm always in awe!

Davalyn Spencer said...

Fabulous post! Some of my favorite lines:

"Peter Hurd saw the black sedan first-dark and slow, prowling Main Street like a panther." -First Boy, a middle-grade book by Gary Schmidt.

"Go ahead," Grant said. "I hardly ever kill employees anymore since they changed my medication." -Double Vision by Randy Ingermanson

"Confounded woman had him all in a knot." -Branding the Wrangler's Heart by Davalynn Spencer

"Annie Whitaker clenched her jaw and wrapped her fingers around the arms of the front-porch rocking chair. It was better than wrapping them around her older sister's throat." - The Cowboy Takes a Wife, by Davalynn Spencer

Julie Lessman said...

YIKES!!!! I am now on the road at a McDonald's for 10 minutes, so I don't have much time, but I will respond to all comments eventually, OK?

BONNIE, AGREED!!!! Erica is a favorite of mine!!

Hugs, Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, MISSY -- join the club!!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

BECKY!!! Icing, indeed, my friend, & you have Betty Crocker beat, in my opinion!!

Thx for stopping by!

Hugs,
Julie

Vince said...

Hi Julie:

Below is a short passage which says volumes and volumes about Charity. So few words to show why Charity will always upstage anyone else in the scene.

She tapped her foot on the leafy pavement. “Something’s up, Sean, I can feel it in my bones, and so help me I will badger you all the way home if you don’t spill it now.”

His frustration blasted out in a cloud of smoke. “I can’t tell you, Charity, I promised.”

“Oh, fiddle, that’s an easy fix. I’ll just ask the questions, and you give me that stone-face look that will tell me everything I need to know.”

“But that’s not right.”

“Sure it is,”
she said, dismissing his concern with a wave of her hand. “I do it with Mitch all the time.” Head cocked, she chewed on her lip. “Okay . . . it’s something that happened at work, but it has to be personal because Emma’s steady as a rock in all business matters, right?”

He stared, trying not to blink.

“Okay, good, a personal situation at work that involves a person other than you.”

His jaw dropped. “I never said that.”

“Sure you did, when you did that pinching thing with your nose as a stall tactic.”


From -- "A Heart Revealed"

Barbara Scott said...

Now I have to read The Cactus Creek Challenge. Love that line!

Julie Lessman said...

SYDNEY, WOW ... what great quotes, girlfriend!! Makes me want to dive into ol' Jane right now, which is kind of hard for me to believe because I am not a Jane-ite by any stretch of the imagination. So THANK YOU for sharing those -- they are great!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, thanks, SANDRA -- I feel the same way about your books, girlfriend, so we are MASAs (mutual admiration society authors).

You said: "I love it when a line hits me or a piece of prose. And often it breaks every rule like it could be telling instead of showing. LOL. But then I grew up on those old telling novels."

Me, to, Sandra!! And I loved them as well. :) The head-hopping never bothered me back then either, till I learned in it was a no-no when I joined the CBA.

Hugs!!

Julie

Vince said...

Hi Julie:

Below is a beautiful natural description that works in the theme of the title and ends with a segue into the hero's internal landscape.

Where the Eagle Flies
Sandra Leesmith

The eagle circled above the canyon floor and the crystal blue waters of the lake. The predator’s tawny gold head and its tail feathers with the white stripes stood out against the dark brown of its wings and body. As it soared higher and higher, Sid watched it become a dark speck against the cloudless blue sky.

It hadn’t rained this afternoon. The canyon was hot, but not humid. Sid glanced at Melissa who had dozed in his arms. He yearned to whisk her away from this isolated place and show her how much he truly did love her.

***
That's how to write!

Julie Lessman said...

WHOO-HOO ... my uber-smart techie girlfriend, Sandie Hea, showed me how to connect my hotspot on my phone so I can get the Internet on my computer while Keith drives us to St. Louis, so YAY!!! I will admit, both Keith and I are a wee bit nervous about the cost, but heck, anything for Seekerville, right??

REQUESTING PRAYERS, PLEASE!! It's raining cats and dogs and a few squirrels on Hwy. 70 all the way to St. Louis, and the semi's are about blowing us away with tire spray, so PRAYERS APPRECIATED for safety. I already fell on my side this morning in the house before we left because I was rushing through the tiled hallway that Keith had just mopped up. YIKES!! It was like I was sliding into home (hey, I was, wasn't I???), so THANK YOU, GOD, that I did not break a hip or anything else, although my elbow was bleeding and my neck hurts a wee bit. Gosh, that would have been AWFUL if I'd broken something and was laid up for months with an impending move coming up!!

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

Pam Hillman said...

I love all these lines and I read all 51 on the other blog. Good stuff!

Julie Lessman said...

SPEW ALERT FROM VINCE!!!!

“God is Dead.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

“Friedrich Nietzsche is dead.”
God

(Nihilism in less than ten sentences.)

ROTFLOL ... you are AMAZZZZZZZING AND SOOOOO DARN FUNNY!!!

Keep 'em coming, my friend -- I need the entertainment while driving in a thunderstorm. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

DEBBY ASKED: "Julie, your analogies are amazing. Do they come easily?"

Aw, Deb, thank you SO much, but no, they do NOT come easily, which is why I soooooo apppreciate your sweet comment. Nothing comes easily to me except passion, I'm afraid, but that's more than enough for this writer ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, thanks SO much, DAVALYN -- appreciate your sweet comment AND the great quotes. LOVE yours, my friend, so thanks for sharing!! Especially chuckled over the second one with Annie -- VERY cute!!

And Randy's quote made me chuckle too:

"Go ahead," Grant said. "I hardly ever kill employees anymore since they changed my medication." -Double Vision by Randy Ingermanson

GREAT LINES!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

VINCE, VINCE, VINCE ... just when I think I can't love you anymore, you come up with something else that makes me want to hug you all over again!!

I absolutely love, Love, LOVE Charity, and you are right, she upstages everybody else in any scene she's in, which is why she makes me downright laugh when I'm both reading and writing my books. LOVE that woman, so THANK YOU for giving me a glimpse of her today with your incredibly encouraging comment.

Please tell your wife that Julie says she fell in with you, my friend. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

VINCE ... HEAR, HEAR!!! Sandra Leesmith (almost typed it Lessmith) is one of my FAVES, which is why I ready every single thing the woman writes! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

AGREED, PAMMY ... great lines are just flat-out FUN!!!

HUGS,
Julie

Cara Lynn James said...

Julie, I love beautiful language in a book. It adds, not detracts and doesn't pull me out of the story. Both long and short sentences can be beautiful.

I love the Nietzsche quote!

Debby Giusti said...

LOL, Julie, at your passion comment! Glad to know you struggle with all those wonderful words you write. I might be jealous otherwise!

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, CARA, I totally agree, both on the beautiful language AND the Nietzsche quote! The first only makes me love a story more, and the second is appropriately named -- he's a Nietzsche!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

DEBBY ... no jealousy necessary, I guarantee you, Deb, unless it's on my part to people like you (and other Seekers like Ruthy, Mary, Pam, Glynna and any other Seeker I forgot to mention ) who can write more than one book a year!

Hugs,
Julie

bonton said...

Praying for safety during the rain/storm and also for soreness, etc. related to that "bummed up" elbow, neck (and any other possible undiagnosed body part)issues - just glad a stumped toe wasn't involved in the mix this time, and no serious injuries. You'll be able to continue your "wonder woman" accomplishments, even with slowing down a millisecond. We want you safe, healthy - AND writing, lol!! Love you, Julie - give Amy a hug for me!!

Caryl Kane said...

HEY JULIE! Have you started to dry out?! It may be best to stay in and work on edits instead of drowning your daughter while jumping puddles......

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hey, I made it! And it's a Julie day! What a fun post! Makes me want to go back and rewrite my scenes with something brilliant!

And thank you, Kav, for mentioning me!

So many talented people here. Will pop back if I come up some lines from the books I'm reading!

Prayers for safe travels and have fun with your daughter, Julie!

Cheers,
Sue

Sheila Watson said...

I've always had a love for great lines. Some people just read words, some devour each word on the page. This was a fabulous article. One to make you feel the words deep into your soul. Make the words sink deep into the pours of our minds.

deana dick said...

I say this a lot, "I have never met a book I didn't like." It's from an author or anyone famous, just me. I believe that every book has something worth reading. It might be a sentence, a phrase or even a paragraph that stays with you forever. The beauty of writing is the ability to capture someone's attention with words that flow breathlessly across the page and penetrate their thoughts. You do that very well with your books . Thank you for capturing my attention and giving me great books to savor .
Deana

Sarah Claucherty said...

Hanes' definition of brevity vs. that of an author as wonderful as Julie...Had me rolling in laughter!

It's been pouring rain here too, I think the Midwest is under a permanently-open sprinkler spray this summer.

Favorite lines:

"She did not want the emptiness in her heart to shadow this moment." - Annie's Stories. Shadows caused by an empty space...

"She rubbed her hand over the surface of the book. Stories always revealed more than most folks realized. She could not wait to discover this one's meaning." - Annie's Stories
I love the dual book/cover judgment and life/meaning significance here.

"Promise you'll save your heart for God's best, a man who loves God as much as you do. Because therein lies a love like no other." -Love at Any Cost
This is such a prevailing theme in Julie's novels, and this just states it so simply.

"No one escapes being hurt in this life, because unfortunately, we live in a fallen world. But please believe me when I sau there's a great gift in pain." - A Heart Revealed

"Because, my dear, God is love." - APMP
Why? Because.

Sarah Claucherty said...

And please add me to the drawing!!! I'd love to win one of your books, Julie dear!

Marissa C said...

I always love Julie's prose, but since hers has been mentioned so much I will give a quote I love from Dawn Crandall's book, which I am currently reading. The book is called The Bound Heart. Here is the quote:
“The moon reminds me that God made it just for us,” she continued. “And that back when Jesus lived on the earth, He went to sleep every night, just like me, and He, too, likely looked up at it— at the same exact moon I see every night— from wherever He laid his head . And where did He lay His head, compared to where we lay ours every night? On the dirt and grass of the earth. He took nothing for Himself, and now He provides me with a bed, and a roof, and all these friends, and meals… and this music class.”
I'd love to be added to the drawing, I love your books so much, Julie!

Courtney Clark said...

Julie, how in the world did I just realize that you're only a few hours away from me?!?! I live in a little town called Berryville in northwest Arkansas. It would be an honor if we could meet sometime!

If you EVER come this way, you're welcome to dine "on the house" at my family's restaurant, Good Times Pizza Co. Seriously.

On the subject of brevity, I have never thought that your books are long! I'd be happy if they were longer :) I'm very excited to read your new contemporary this year!

Here are a few quotes that have stood out to me from recent reads:

"Imagine how differently we'd treat people if at the beginning of an acquaintance we were given opportunity to know how that person would affect our life." from Mark of Distinction by Jessica Dotta

"No matter how hard she'd tried that winter, she hadn't been able to unravel his presence from deep inside. It was almost as if his essence had woven threads through her heart that she couldn't pluck out without destroying herself in the process." from Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

Vince said...

.
"They praise brevity but they write novels."

pepperbasham said...

Aww, Jules! You just made my day so much better! Thanks for mentioning The Thorn Bearer...I've never been praised for my brevity, so this is definitely a smile worthy declaration ;-)
And...oh my, what fantastic quotes. So powerful!
WTG, Marissa, mentioning Dawn Crandall. I've enjoyed reading her work and beautiful turns of phrases.

Julie Lessman said...

BONNIE, I always appreciate your powerful prayers, my friend, so THANK YOU!! We've been talking with Amy in the car nonstop since we picked her up, so it's been fun, especially since the rain FINALLY let up some about 30 minutes ago. Almost home now, thank God, but will stop for dinner, then groceries. LONG DAY ... BUT A GOOD ONE!!

Hugs,
Julie

Vince said...

"Measuring brevity in words is like measuring love in roses."

Julie Lessman said...

CARYL ... would you believe I have NOT dried out yet? Been in and out of rain for every bathroom break in the last six hours between the Lake and St. Louis, so my yoga pants are still damp at the bottom, but that's okay because it's warmer at the Lake now (73 vs. 50s in St. Louis). :)

But trust me -- no more jumping puddles!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

CARYL ... would you believe I have NOT dried out yet? Been in and out of rain for every bathroom break in the last six hours between the Lake and St. Louis, so my yoga pants are still damp at the bottom, but that's okay because it's warmer at the Lake now (73 vs. 50s in St. Louis). :)

But trust me -- no more jumping puddles!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, SUSAN (aka Suzi-Q), thank you for your prayers -- MUCH appreciated!

And, sweetie, not necessary for you to go back and rewrite something brilliant because you ALREADY did!! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, me too, SHEILA!! And I totally agree about devouring each word on the page -- almost better than chocolate for me. I said "almost" ... :)

Thanks for coming by to leave a comment, my friend, and here's to a win!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

DEANA SAID: "The beauty of writing is the ability to capture someone's attention with words that flow breathlessly across the page and penetrate their thoughts."

OH. MY. GOODNESS, girl, what a BEAUTIFUL sentence/comment on its own!! You are definitely a writer, so you go, girl!!

And thank you SO much for your very kind comment about my writing -- SO appreciate the encouragement, my friend. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Vince said...

"Brevity is man's least appreciated gift to women."

Julie Lessman said...

SARAH!!!

I'm so glad the Hanes' definition gave you a laugh. My hubby wasn't laughing when I asked him if he thought I should use it. Of course that was mostly over the prospect of me posting a picture of a package of briefs (without a model, of course). ;)

You live in the Midwest? Did I know that? Where?

GREAT QUOTES, my friend, and THANK YOU sooo much for including several of mine!

I appreciate your take on the LAAC quote, which IS a "prevailing theme" in my books, so thank you for noticing!

HUGS and GOOD LUCK in the contest, Sarah!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, MARISSA, I love, Love, LOVE Dawn Crandall and her work, so thank you for giving us one of her beautiful quotes!

Hugs and here's to a win!

Julie

Walt Mussell said...

One of my favorite historical authors once made a climbing Mt. Everest reference nearly 40 years before it happened, a story I later related to my wife. My wife's responded that no woman would know when Mt. Everest was actually scaled.

As for brevity, one of the comments I've run across when judges review my writing is that they call it "clean," meaning that I'm light on verbosity.

As for my favorite lines or mine, one of my characters recites a poem on his death bed. (This is very Japanese. Need to work out the Japanese haiku version.)

Julie Lessman said...

COURTNEY!!! Looks like I'm only 2 hours and 55 minutes from you now, whereas when I lived in St. Louis, it was almost six hours, so things are looking up! ;)

Thank you for the sweet invite to your family's restaurant -- that is WAY cool, and I happen to LOVE pizza, so it's a date! And likewise, if you ever get to Lake of the Ozarks, PLEASE let me know because I would love to meet you too!

I sooooo appreciate your sweet comments on my books, and WOW, those are two high-powered quotes there -- love them both. Have not had the pleasure of reading Jessica yet, but I've heard rave reviews, and of course everyone knows how fabulous Jody is. :)

Thanks for coming by and here's to a win!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

"They praise brevity but they write novels."

OMG ... LOVE this, Vince!! Where do you find these things? Or wait -- is this another of YOURS????

HUGS,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

PEPPER!!! My pleasure, darlin' -- your work is really exceptional, and I think you will find out just how much when you are able to enter some contests. :)

Hugs!!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

"Measuring brevity in words is like measuring love in roses."



VINCE!!! You gotta tell me -- are these YOUR quotes??? Because if so, you need to put a quote book together based on different subjects!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...


"Brevity is man's least appreciated gift to women."

LOL ... AMEN AND AMEN!! A gift you have never given to us, my friend, and I am sooooo glad!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

WALT!!! SO good to see you here, my friend, and your wife is absolutely correct! ;)

Ooooo, I would love to hear your deathbed haiku poem, so please pass it along if you can, okay?

And there's an awful lot to be said for "clean," Walt -- which is what most Asian-flavored stories remind me of: clean, pure, back to earth, sacred, etc. I use the word "clean" and "fresh" in my reviews when I am describing a book that is exceptionally succinct, clear, and uncluttered, so it's a definite compliment!

Hugs,
Julie

Vince said...

Hi Julie:

All the quotes that I didn't attribute are mine. The Friedrich Nietzsche quote was a very popular graffiti item when I was in college. I just put it into a context to play on Tina's early comment. That is, summarizing a philosophy in a few sentences ala Nietzsche's goal.

Ever since high school I've had a goal to always think in thoughts that might be mistaken to be famous quotes. I actually have a few hundred now that I might put in a Kindle book called "Famous Quotes No One Has Ever Heard of to Give Your Writing Wisdom with Freshness"

I'd rather make them up than look them up.

Now for my finale here's a quuote I just made up as I was writing this comment. It's a little edgy but I think it is funny but don't tell it to a man.

"Few things aggravate a woman more in a man than brevity in life, love, and locution."

I better call it a night. : )

I'm reading "Viking Gold" tonight.

Vince

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, VINCE, I am soooooooo thrilled to hear that, because after all the wonderful quotes you gave us today, I'm thinking you absolutely MUST put them in a book of some kind, by subject.

"Few things aggravate a woman more in a man than brevity in life, love, and locution."

LOL ... you gotta love it ... edgy or no!!

Put that brain of yours to bed, my friend -- it's worked awfully hard to educate, entertain, and inspire Seekerville today! :)

Hugs,
Julie


Audra Harders said...

Julie! I just had to leave a comment on this post...and most of all because YOU wrote it! OMG, no one would believe it until the by-line at the end!

Yes, I agree brevity is a good thing, especially if the writer has the finesse to get his/her thoughts out succinctly. There's nothing worse than an author sacrificing the passion portrayed by their words for the sake of to-the-point passages.

Your books are keepers because you know how to use words efficiently, even in their vast quantities, LOL!

Let's face it, Jules. God did not create you to write category romance. He intended you to write sweeping epics to be enjoyed with a bottle of Merlot and a splash of Calgon.

Brevity is great for those that can.

You can't teach elegant prose...that's a gift : )

Long live the door-stop tombs!!!!!

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, AUDS, your beautiful comment above brought tears to my eyes, my sweet friend -- THANK YOU!!

You said: "Let's face it, Jules. God did not create you to write category romance. He intended you to write sweeping epics to be enjoyed with a bottle of Merlot and a splash of Calgon."

LOL ... indeed, He did not as I was soundly rejected by ... Emily Rodmell, maybe??? Can't remember, but the woman knew what she was doing, I'll tell you that! And merlot and Calgon sounds like a great combo to me ... ;)

Hey, did you see Vince's comment wonderful comment above about your books??? Better check it out, darlin', because it's soooooo true, and I agree 100%!

Love you (and miss you!), my sweet friend!
Julie

Bianca Gibson said...

I enjoyed reading this post and it definitely made me want to read your books that I haven't read yet. I loved reading the quotes from others, especially The Lord of the Rings and Narnia quotes. I have a hard time then inking of a specific quote a d trying to decide which one I'd like best. I'll post a quote from what I'm currently reading. "But the greater part was as solid as the rock of the cliffs outside. Yes, the greater within her was entrenched in certainty so deeply that she knew she'd feel it even tomorrow, when the same thing would be done to her." The Kill Order by James Dashner.

Salyna xD said...

Some quotes I love are:
"Dive deep. Drown willingly." - Ted Dekker

"Turn towards the light. Don't be affraid of the shadow it creates." - Ted Dekker

"Sometimes the heart tells us to venture where the mind fears to tread." - Lisa Bergren

"And they will turn from nothing into flesh and blood." - Ally Condie

I consider these really great quotes because I got chills when I read the words for the first time. I love quotes that inspire me to be a better person. The one about diving deep by Ted dekker is about diving into Gods word and drowning in his love. The last one by Ally Condie is actually from a secular novel, but it makes me feel courageous. It reminds me that I am made in Gods image and with him I can do anything. :)

Love your post as always Julie!!! *hugs*

ladysalxd(at)gmail(dot)com

The Artist Librarian said...

"Isle of Hope" will be your longest book to date? Yay! Is long a bit unusual for a contemporary novel? Still super happy about that though ... your stories always seem to go by so quickly when I read them ... *sign of a great author* =)

"Will you go for a walk with me?"

"Not unless you calm down. I generally don't walk alongside men with homicidal interests in poison."

"Beyond All Dreams" by Elizabeth Camden (A librarian protagonist? Yes, please!)

Sarah Claucherty said...

Julie,

I'm in Indiana! :)

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, BIANCA, thanks for coming by and, WOW, what a great quote, because like Salyna mentions above, I got chills when I read it. I assume it's a murder mystery and something awful is being done to her?

YES, you will definitely have to read any of my books you haven't read yet (smile), and hopefully we can start right here with a win! :)

GOOD LUCK!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

SALYNA!!! Always love seeing you drop by, my friend, so THANK YOU!!

Holy cow, those are some powerful quotes, which makes me want to read Ted Dekker, one author I have never read before. I am not into suspense thrillers at all unless they're rich in romance, which I don't think his are, are they?

But I LOVE Lisa Bergren! :)

Hugs and more hugs!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

JENN!!! Yes, Isle of Hope (book 1, Unfailing Love) is currently 520 pages (almost 160,000 words), and although my publisher was interested in it, they wanted me to cut it in half, which I didn't want to do, so I am indie pubbing it myself this fall. BUT ... per my agent's advice, I am trimming it back approximately 10,000-20,000 words, just to tighten it up.

Since this is my first contemporary I've ever written and since I don't ready more historical than contemporary, I wasn't all that certain if contemps were shorter or not till I double-checked some of my faves. Becky Wade and Denise Hunter run in the 300-page range, while Susan May Warren is around 400+ range, so I guess you're right.

I can understand why publishers want a shorter book these days with the cost of paperback printing, but since Isle of Hope will initially be an ebook only (possibly paper later), I don't think e-readers pay attention to how long a book is.

Oh, I LOVE Elizabeth Camden!! She is quickly becoming one of my very favorite authors, so thanks for sharing that delightful quote. :) A spunky librarian -- LOVE IT!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Gosh, SARAH, Kokomo is about 8 hours from Lake of the Ozarks, so I guess you don't get down here much, if at all. BUT ... if you ever do, you have a standing invitation for coffee and pastries at Panera, okay?

Hugs!!
Julie

Jessica Johnson said...

Oh, Julie, thanks for this post. It's so funny you mention highlighters in hand while reading, because you are one of those authors who causes me to get my highlighter out or dog-ear pages. I have several "favorite" lines of yours...here, I'll go get one...Ok. From A Passion Most Pure: "For a moment her breath wedged in her throat before spilling forth in a rush of angry defiance." It shows that while Marcy would normally bite her tongue, this time Patrick has gone too far!
I would love to win a copy of one of your books!

Salyna xD said...

His books that I have read have mild romance. In the Circle series their was enough to saticfy me with out it being over powering. That series was actually one of the first I ever read, and I still love them! :)

Always love to drop by and read your posts as well Julie!!!

Ginger Solomon said...

I love all of these. I can't think of any of my own or other, at the moment. I guess I just read too much. I know there are some that have stuck out at me, but can't think of which book or where. :)

Julie Lessman said...

Aw, JESSICA, thank you SO much for making me a highlighted author in your book! :) That blesses me!

Here's hoping I can send you a signed book if you win, so GOOD LUCK!!

HUGS,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

Mmmm, SALYNA, thanks for recommending one of his series because I know we are alike enough in our romance tastes that if YOU like it and think it's enough romance, I probably will too!

Hugs and Have a GREAT week!
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

GINGER, I know what you mean -- I actually read a ton of books for an author (about 8 a month), so many of them just blur in my brain as to where a great line was. But one thing I have started doing is highlighting great lines in my ereader, then if I ever have occasion to quote it like in my blog yesterday, I have access. Or if I ever talk to the author, I like to mention specific lines I loved. Authors really get a kick out of that when a reader remembers one of their lines. :)

Hugs and here's to a win, my friend!
Julie

Laura VanNice said...

I love a good quote from a long, leisurely novel! To "tighten" that up would be book sacrilege. Let's face it, it takes words to paint a picture, and sure, sometimes you can do it in just a few, but sometimes it takes more. I'm actually not a huge fan of brevity. Or maybe it's just that it's one of those skills I don't seem to have. Twitter makes me twitch. Only 140 characters? How can I say what I need to in 140 characters?

As far as quotes go, I could give you whole paragraphs that I love, but in the spirit of the post, I'll keep it brief. A couple of my favorites -

"All Roxanna knew was Cassius Clayton McLinn. All she wanted began and ended with him." from The Colonel's Wife by Laura Frantz

"No, they were one flesh, just as God's Word proclaimed - if her heart broke, he ached, if her dreams died, he mourned." A Heart Revealed

There are tons more - groups of words that paint a picture, evoke a lingering emotion - love them!

As far as winning a book, I have all of yours that are out, but I'd love a copy of your upcoming book! Honestly though, I'll pick it up even if I don't win. :)

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, WOW, LAURA ... I think you just made my day, girlfriend!! THANK YOU SOOOO much for your sweet comment and for putting one of my quotes next to one of Laura's -- she is one of my TOP FAVES as far as authors and a dear, dear friend, so I totally agree she is soooooo quotable.

And, gosh, you just pulled one of my favorite quotes from my books, so thank you for reminding me of it. I LOVE Luke and Katie and plan to write a Christmas novella about them eventually like I did for Mitch and Charity just because they are sooooo fun to write about. I guess being a spunky gal myself, I like writing about those spunky ones. :)

Here's hoping you pull out a win so I can send you a copy of my first Isle of Hope book, so GOOD LUCK!

Hugs and more hugs,
Julie

Deanna Stevens said...

How rude of him! Lone Star Ranger - Still, don't seem right to take a women's horse!

And "Will you go for a walk with me?"
"Not unless you calm down. I generally don't walk alongside men with homicidal interests in poison."
"Beyond All Dreams" by Elizabeth Camden
was a very good one.. I agree!
toss me into the hat please :)

Laura VanNice said...

Julie, I LOVE Luke and Katie! Those twin scenes where she doesn't want to be pregnant and then the one where she does - I think I tear up every time I read them. (Yes, I AM a re-reader!) Luke's tenderness toward Katie just melts off the page and into the heart. Very sigh worthy. :)

I'm a voracious reader, and I'm not exaggerating when I say I'm pretty much always in the midst of one book or another. That being said, Laura Frantz, Elizabeth Camden and you are one of about a dozen authors that are part of a special ritual at my house. Whenever a new book comes out, I make sure the kids have everything they need, explain that a new book I've been waiting for FOREVER has come out (I'm not above hyperbole in certain situations), and that unless there's blood, fire or lack of consciousness, I would prefer to be left alone for a while. They're all teenagers now, so I figured I've earned time off for good behavior. It's been a pretty effective system so far. Keeps everybody happy. :)

Blessings and prayers that your bumps and bruises heal quickly!
Laura

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, DEANNA, consider yourself tossed (gently) into the hat, my friend, so GOOD LUCK! :)

HUGS,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

LAURA SAID: "Julie, I LOVE Luke and Katie! Those twin scenes where she doesn't want to be pregnant and then the one where she does - I think I tear up every time I read them. (Yes, I AM a re-reader!) Luke's tenderness toward Katie just melts off the page and into the heart. Very sigh worthy. :)"

Oh, girl, I have a feeling we would be good, GOOD friends if we lived close, so if you ever get down (or up) Lake of the Ozarks way, DO let me know so I can buy you a cup of coffee, okay? Because, YES, I love Luke McGee and his heart for Katie and vice versa. They are SO much fun to write about!

YOU SAID: "And that unless there's blood, fire or lack of consciousness, I would prefer to be left alone for a while."

ROTFLOL!!! Oh, man, we ARE alike, girl!!! That is hysterical and not unlike what I did when the sequel to Gone With the Wind came out on TV years ago when my kids were small. I told my husband that this was a movie I wanted to watch/record it without interruption, so he kept the kids upstairs while I pulled the recliner up within 3 feet of the TV and clutched the remote in my hand to fast forward all commercials. My kids were calling for me and trying to come down to our family room, and my poor hubby would have to drag them back up, telling them mommy needed to be alone. :)

Anyway, thanks for making me smile, and I do mean that about buying you coffee sometime if you ever get down (or up) this way, okay?

HUGS and GOOD LUCK in the contest!

Julie

Michelle F. said...

I read a mystery once where one character mentioned that someone was out in the yard digging a hole with a flashlight. The other person said, "Wouldn't it be easier with a shovel?" Ha, ha. Please enter me in the drawing.

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, MICHELLE,, that is a hoot! Thanks for coming by, and GOOD LUCK!!

Hugs,
Julie