Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Famous Last Words

The Washington Post has an article on “The 23 most unforgettable last sentences in fiction.” Many critics and readers focus on the first sentence, but the last sentence is the one that leaves the final impression. Here are a few of my favorites.

“I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.”
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
“It’s funny. Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.”
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
“He was soon borne away by the waves, and lost in darkness and distance.”
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
“After all, tomorrow is another day.”
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
“He loved Big Brother.”
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
I can't resist. Here are a couple of my favorites from my own books.

“I kept my head and Chestnut facing east.”
The Shopkeeper by James D. Best
(I didn’t want my hero to ride off into the sunset.)

“And then he was gone.”
Tempest at Dawn by James D. Best
(James Madison, an old man had left the room, but he soon after left the stage as our last remaining Founding Father.)

In truth, neither the first nor last sentence can make a good story. The entire narrative has to pull the reader forward until they read the last sentence. A story told properly will cause the reader to seek out another book by the same author.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Honest Westerns filled with dishonest characters.

New Release: Crossing the Animas, Audiobook Edition

“Ben Law is tough...and mean. He enjoys taking care of problems for his boss. He won’t just verbally assault you. He and his men will hurt you. Bad.”

Steve Dancy is about to find this out. With his new home in Durango, Colorado, the kind with a nice white picket fence, and marriage on the horizon, the last thing Dancy wants is trouble. Especially with a mining tycoon and his henchmen. But this is the frontier ... and sometimes a feud finds you. Sometimes, it even chases you. When the quarrel endangers Dancy’s fiancĂ©e and friends, he has no choice but to fight. And this is a fight Dancy must win.

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If you would like a free copy of the audiobook, Crossing the Animas, send me an email (jimbest@jamesdbest.com) and while they last, I'll send you a promotional code.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Crazy Rich Asians Tells an Old Story Anew

Last night we rented Crazy Rich Asians based on the book by Kevin Kwan. I had heard a lot of good things about the film, but I was disappointed. I had seen the story before. 

Then I remembered an old Kurt Vonnegut lecture on the shape of stories. I had posted the short video a few years prior and followed his advice in Crossing the Animas. Evidently, I was not the only one. Kwan adapted one of his story lines and transferred it to Singapore. Vonnegut said writers were free to use his model and claimed that any who did would make a million dollars. Kwan cashed in. Me, not so much. However, if you liked Crazy Rich Asians, take a gander at Crossing the Animas. (Soon available in audio in a fine reading by Paul Manelis.)

Watch Vonnegut's talk. It's funny as hell, yet still packed with good advice for storytellers.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

My son's commercial for Walmart

My son designs my book covers. I tell him I'm getting his pricey art college tuition back one cover at a time. Anyway, his day job is advertising and I especially liked this WalMart ad that first ran on the Golden Globe Awards.