To capture the readers’ interest, novels must have a theme, a lesson to be learned, a strong voice that readers can identify with. How do you do that?
Sometimes it’s difficult, so I use famous quotes–the writing of people more erudite than I–to focus on the depth that is in my characters–and most of the rest of us if we take the time to peek:
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln
“There are no ordinary moments!!!” – Dan Millman to “Socrates” in his book, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior
“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” – John R. Wooden, greatest college basketball coach of all time
“There is one quality which one possess to win, and that is clarity of purpose. This is the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to achieve it.” – Unknown
“The wise don’t expect to find life worth living; they make it that way.” – Unknown
“I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
“I tell you, if there is not something so important, so dear to a man’s heart that he is willing to die for it, then he isn’t fit to live.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.” – Paul Valery
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
“The sun don’t shine on the same dog’s ass all day long. (if the dog don’t move, the sun will)” – old West Virginia saying
“In him who is the source of my strength I have strength for everything.” – Phillipians 4:13
“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But, baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.” – James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams
“Those that deem politics beneath their dignity are doomed to be governed by those of lesser talents.” – Aristotle
“Never give up. Never!” – Winston Churchill
“Whatever you can do or dream you can. Begin it. Boldness has beauty, magic and power in it.” – Goethe
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself.” – St. Frances de Sales
“He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.” – Old Chinese Saying
“Almost doesn’t count, except with horseshoes and hand grenades.” – Anonymous
“I like a man who grins when he fights.” – Winston Churchill
“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
“Typical Trojan defense: 87% effective.” – banner hanging outside Dillon Hall before the Notre Dame/USC game
“Remember… body like stone… mind like meatloaf…” – Sumo instructor to Craig in Southpark
“I don’t believe in quantum physics when it comes to matters of the heart… I believe in the soul, … the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curveball, high-fiving, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe that there oughta be a constitutional amendment outlawing astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last 3 days. Good night.” – Crash Davis in Bull Durham
“There is no homework.” – The late Dan Quisenberry, former Kansas City Royals great, when asked what was the best thing about baseball
“Relax, alright, don’t try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring, and besides, they’re fascist. Throw some groundballs, they’re more democratic… hey, and another thing, you don’t know sh*t… if you wanna make it to the Show you’ll listen to me, got it? So lets relax, lets have some fun out here, this game’s fun, ok?, its fun dammit. Oh, and don’t hold the ball so hard. It’s an egg. Hold it like an egg.” – Crash Davis in conversation at the mound in Bull Durham
“Luge strategy? Lie flat and try not to die.” – Carmen Boyle, Olympic Luge Gold Medal Winner, 1996
“Only in America……do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.” – Unknown
“Only in America……do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.” – Unknown
“Stealing! How could you? Haven’t you learned anything from that guy who gives those sermons at church? Captain what’s-his-name? We live in a society of laws. Why do you think I took you to all those Police Academy movies? For fun? Well, I didn’t hear anybody laughin’, did you?” – Homer Simpson
“I read somewhere that 77 percent of all the mentally ill live in poverty. Actually, I’m more intrigued by the 23 percent who are apparently doing quite well for themselves.” – Jerry Garcia