BLOG No. 29 by novelist Jeremy Logan -- MAKING IT MEMORABLE
One thing that has me fascinated as a novelist, is how to make my stories memorable. I'm thinking there has to be enjoyable moments in every story that your readers want to share with others or remember over and over again in their lives. Often, such moments become catch phrases or are incorporated into the reader's vernacular. In a previous blog, I've mentioned how I referenced a phrase that came from the television show, Saturday Night Live, when Dan Aykroyd calls Jane Curtain, "You ignorant slut." When I watched that episode live on television I literally fell out of my chair in laughter. It stuck with me over the years, and I used it in The Rubik Memorandum, giving credit, of course, to the show.
Writers of dialogue who's work finds its way to a large audience can also become memorable. Performers and actors in their roles in movies make it happen. As I child I remember William Bendix saying in the show, The Life of Riley, "What a revolting development this is." To name one more recent in time, Jack Nicholson's role in The Shining, when he mimics Ed McMahon's introduction of Johnny Carson, "Here's Johnny." You can add the orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally. And here's another, Arnold Schwarzenegger saying, "I'll be back," in the movie, Terminator.
I mention this because it's something, as an author, I am conscious of. I'm not talking about delivering a punch line. It's the search for the perfect utterance or retort at a crucial time. You don't plan to fit something into your story. You simply need to recognize the opportunity for the story's character to say something that might be memorable. When you hit on such a gem it's usually because two things have happened. First, your work becomes widely read, and secondly, your story resonates in the lives of your readers. And that, after all, is what a novelist is after.