I used to think novelists didn't have to worry about last lines. For a poet there's so much pressure on that last line.
But lately I've been noticing the last lines of chapters. Some are like the moment before the soap opera ends. They have to keep you tuning back in. There are always those almost revelations, dead bodies, what ifs . . . I don't think I'll ever write a novel, but I've been thinking of last lines for chapters. Here are a few. I keep thinking of more.
1. But when I opened my eyes the next morning, nothing looked the same. I had no clue where I was. Who was this man looking down at me?
2. If I said it three times, it would have to come true.
3. This is your brother, he said, pointing to the dead body at the door. But it wasn't. It wasn't anyone I knew. But where was my brother?
4. I knew it was just the end of Act I, and I had lost. Or had I?
5. I was careful. Each day I made sure I left no evidence.
6. Even when I stole a glass of water (I was so unbearably thirsty then, I couldn't resist that cold filtered water ), I washed the glass and sprayed it with Glass Plus, erasing all fingerprints.
7. But still I sensed that someone was watching, as if my body were being traced by someone I could never see.
8. But what if they looked too closely at the girl walking down the street in his daughter's clothes?
9. Did anyone anyone notice that she was a little taller, thinner, that a few blond hairs sometimes strayed beneath her cap?
10. Did they think she was just some foreign relative, or someone who had a reason to be here after all, in this place where no one had a reason or a place to be or an after all.
11. She told him exactly what he needed to do. She told him his life depended on it. But would he listen? No, of course not. Instead he walked right into the burning house without a backward glance.
AWP in Minneapolis, and recommended reading
2 weeks ago