I first want to thank Cherry Mischievous for showcasing Minutes Before Sunset. CM is a blog for the love of science-fiction and fantasy. Check it out for reviews, giveaways, and more!
Next, I want to thank Dames of Dialogue. I recently participated in an interview with them, which you can read by clicking here, and the interview actually begins today’s topic.
A little while ago, I announced on my Facebook Author Page that I had a new idea for blog posts. Since I do so many interviews with fantastic websites, I am often asked questions that make me stop and think. (And I love those questions!) For a long time, I’ve been wanting to share some of those questions and expand on them while also sharing the blogger that asked the question. This is my first attempt to do so.
Dames of Dialogue asked, “Do your readers ever surprise you by seeing something else in your stories than you think you wrote?”
My original answer was, “Readers surprise me the most when they pick out their favorite quotes. I’ve never been able to guess which combination of words would stick out the most, and it’s always a delightful gift when a reader lets me know what their favorite moment, character, or quote was.”
Now, to expand:
People love quotes. We see them as tweets, Facebook statutes, and underlined in novels. In fact, there are entire websites dedicated to sharing fantastic and new quotes to those looking for that perfect combination of words that describes how they feel. I like to think of a great quote like the perfect card to go with a gift (except the gift, in this case, is the novel.)
We all love those little gems – those sentences that make us stop, think, and grab a pen, so we can always return to it. As a reader, I often find myself going to Goodreads and “liking” my favorite quotes. As an author, I find myself looking at the quotes I have written that my readers have “liked” – and I’m surprised almost every time.
Currently, my readers’ favorite quote of mine is, “She was strong and stubborn but loving. She was an untouchable angel with a devil’s mark. She was beautiful.” from November Snow. I could have NEVER guessed that this would be a reader’s favorite, let alone the favorite of all favorites. You know why? Because this quote is about a minor character – one who is only seen in a flashback, one who has died a long time ago. I never thought this moment would be so impactful, but it ended up being one. As an author, I probably would’ve guessed a quote that had more symbolic meaning to the story, but I have to remind myself that readers will pick out what is symbolic to them in their lives.
In contrast, the number one quote “liked” from Minutes Before Sunset is “I was falling in love with her, and she was falling in love with me. It was fated, decided before any of us were born, and I hated it as much as I loved it. I could barely stand it.” This quote didn’t surprise me as much as the one from November Snow.
So, why discuss readers and quotes?
Because, personally, I want to be able to have as many moments that stop the reader as possible. I want them to love those little relatable moments. I want readers to pick up a pen and underline words. In fact, I want them to write all over my novel about their thoughts and emotions. I want them to interact and love the interaction. That’s why I am sharing a few tips about memorable quotes:
1. If you’re a reader, please take the time to credit an author (or novel) any time you share their quote. It means a lot to us. In fact, I found a Pinterest that quoted my novel just yesterday, and it made my afternoon that they took the time to share it. Plus, it helps us see what our readers like, and it might help us grow in our writing style. It also allows us to be able to Google and find you in order to send you a grateful “thank you” for reading and sharing.
2. If you’re an author, thank those readers who share your quotes. I actually have a Twitter album on my Author Facebook Page where I put Twitter pages who have quoted me, hoping to spread the word about their page. You know that great feeling you get when they share it? Readers get that same great feeling when you take the moment to thank them. (After all, I am also a reader.)
3. If you’re an author and you can’t find anyone using your quotes, be sure to share quotes you think your readers might enjoy. For instance, let’s pretend you’re a romance author. You can open up your novel and do a word search for words like “love” or “hate” and see if you wrote any sentences that really strike a nerve, even by themselves. Start sharing them on Twitter or add them to Goodreads. That way, when readers are searching for quotes, they can find them.
Quotes can help readers and writers in many ways – but I think the best part is how they can help us come together. When I’m at the library and I come across an underlined passage, I actually smile. I love seeing what someone else loved, and if I loved it, it makes me feel like I have a reader friend. Now, I know underlining books you don’t own is illegal, so I’m definitely not encouraging that. Instead, I’m saying that sharing those moments with others is a gift. It’s the gift of words.
4 thoughts on “How Readers Surprise Me: Favorite Quotes”
“When I’m at the library and I come across an underlined passage, I actually smile.” – So very true. How I wish to go to the person and say “Hey, I loved it too” 🙂
That’s exactly how I feel! I’m often wondering what else they liked to read and wishing they had left a recommendation behind.
This is certainly true, that readers see things we didn’t see ourselves. One of my first sales was a poem I thought was pretty straightforward, but the editor thought it was extremely funny. And one of my best reviews termed The Seven Exalted Orders “a meditation on power.” I thought I was writing an anguished romance. Who knew?
Once our words get out there, they are no longer under our control. We don’t know what past experience our readers bring, or if our characters will resonate in the way we intend. We can only hope the positive reactions will out-number the negative, and enjoy the interesting feedback.