I am a compulsive re-reader of scenes.
Hi, my name is Mary and I re-read great scenes from books.
I suppose, of all the Obsessive Compulsive behavior in the world, this one doesn’t cause that much trouble. Unless you’re my husband and you want to thin the herd of books over running my shelves.
What I’m wondering is—does anyone else do this?
Is this a writer thing? Or have invented my very own addiction.
Mary Connealy’s Anonymous. I’ll work on that. I want something catchy when I approach the American Psychiatric Association.
I think it might be a writer thing, but maybe not.
I’ve got this huge stack of books I love. Combine that with my chronic insomnia, made far, far worse if I’m reading a book that really catches me…a NEW book…late in the evening, I pick up books I’ve read before and skim through re-reading favorite scenes.
The seventh chapter of Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips when Ren is dressed up like a priest and he and Isabel takes turns congenially insulting each other in the Italian sun.
The scene in The Bride by Julie Garwood when the English Maiden Jamie doctors Angus when he’s been given up for dead and wins the loyalty and love of her new clan. ‘She started four wars the first week.’
The scene in Boo Hiss by Rene Gutteridge when Dustin says to be on the look-out for his escaped two-headed boa constrictor named Bob and Fred. -I had to lay the book down I was laughing so hard.
The scene in Midnight at Ruby Bayou by Elizabeth Lowell when Walker backs down Faith’s stalking ex-boyfriend, Tony. “You got the nice one with me.”
The scene in Unspoken by Angela Hunt when Sema the gorilla saves Glee. To me, the amazing part of this scene was how totally I didn’t see it coming and how it was the foundation of the whole book.
The scene in Matchmakers by Jude Deveraux where Cale, the novelist, and Kane Taggart… well, okay forget it…I can’t read one scene in that book. I have to read every word. “I have always fantacized about being likeable.” (this remains my favorite line ever written)
I could go on for a long, long time.
The fight leading up to the wedding in Petticoat Ranch. Clay is thrilled, Sophie not so much.
That would be stupid,” Clay bellowed. “Do I strike you as a stupid man?”—Sophie arched an eyebrow, and didn’t respond.
Braden finding Amy clinging to a cliff in Golden Days. He thinks she fell. She says she was pushed. While they’re fighting over that, a bear attacks. Love that scene.
“You’re not stupid.”
“You work hard. I never said…”
“Well, you should have told Ian…”
“Is that about it? Perhaps you would be as well to toss me back over the cliff before my inferiority destroys your family.”
Maybe that’s a goal to strive for, how many enduring scenes I can fit into my own novels.
A lot of times it seems like really steamy scenes are compelling but I’ve noticed, for me, it’s what leads up to intimacy and the aftermath where the real power is, the four to ten pages of ‘put his hand there’ ‘move her body there’ ‘he caressed’ ‘she trembled’ isn’t all that interesting and I usually skim through that. But what leads up to it is often explosive and passionate and powerful. And usually the aftermath ends in disaster (if it’s early in the book) and that makes for a good scene.
Do any of you have scenes like this? Or is this a personal quirk of mine?
Scenes where the words just come to life, sing, become more than the sum of their parts? Usually there’s a powerful emotion on the line in that scene. Usually, for me, there is humor and action and lots of perfectly paced dialogue.
So tell me your favorites.
Favorite moments, favorite novels. Do you know why they’re your favorites? Put it into words.
Linda Howard’s Alpha Males. Julie Garwood’s Barbarians and Maidens. Suzanne Brockmann’s vulnerable supermen. Jude Deveraux’s sharp, funny dialogue. Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ humor. Angela Hunt’s ability to take the most unusual ideas and bring them to life in powerful ways.
Do you have favorite scenes?
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