The Final Perfect Line

November is coming! November is coming! Writers are frantically preparing for the month of NANOWRIMO. In case you’ve been living under a rock, NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month. Since 1999, a simple challenge to write 50,000 words in thirty days has grown to be a non-profit organization supporting and cheering on hundreds of thousands of writers. The push is to finish no matter how unpolished the words. Because until you write the first draft, the perfect phrases, you cannot craft the perfect final line.

photo of a notebook and pen, an open laptop, a smart phone and a cup of coffee--no matter how you prepare for NANOWRIMO you must write to craft the perfect final line.
one way to prepare

Prepare for NANOWRIMO

Many participants spend October planning the novel they’ll write in November. In the race to prepare, the writers create outlines and character bios and lists of complications and setting details. 

That means that advice for the participants fills many October blogs. This blog is not a lot different. In past years, I’ve written advice on how to revise their NANOWRIMO novels. In reverse you can use that advice to build a novel. Read my Re-visioning Your Story posts if you want that kind of writing advice. This year, instead of advice, I share a few last lines as inspiration.

The Perfect Final Line

He was soon borne away by the waves, and lost in darkness and distance. 

Frankensteinor, The Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley, 1817

He loved Big Brother.

Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell, ©1948

But why does it not stop?

The Tell-tale Heart, Edgar Allen Poe, 1843

I do hope that my darling will not run any chance of danger, more than need be, but we are in God’s hands.

Dracula, Bram Stoker 1897

And so, in hope and solitude, my story ends. Edward Prendick

The Island of Dr. Moreau, HG Wells, 1896

Here then, as I lay down the pen and proceed to seal up my confession, I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end.

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson 1885

When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.

The Outsiders, SE Hutton ©1967

A Wish for NANOWRIMO writers

An image of a fountain pen lying on the blank page of an open spiral notebook waiting for someone to craft the perfect final line
Use the tools that work for you

While many participants won’t finish, the effort puts thousands of words together for stories that have yet been told. And most of the results of NANOWRIMO will need serious editing. No matter. My wish for you is to find within those words the source for the perfect last line. The line that will resonate with readers for years to come. Good luck, participants!

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