Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: favorite lines

I'm knee-deep in rewrites right now, and so I can't think of anything but my WIP.

I do have favorite quotes from lots of authors, but with the snow day, and the boys at home, and the WIP taking up all the real estate in my brain, I can't manage to find them.

Here are four scenes from The Insect Collector. Feel free to leave comments/criticisms.

I LOVE feedback. 


I follow them. We walk and walk. The moon is full and round above us. We reach the end of the road, and cross over some dunes to the beach. The sand is thick and soft, and my feet sink into it. I hear the relaxing sound of the ocean breaking on the shore. The wind picks up as we leave the barrier of the scrub brush behind and the sand gets firm under my feet. We round a corner and there are no longer trees and bushes between us and the Ocean.  

I see it and I know why we’re here. 


Though on some level I know it has to be tough for her that both her parents are dead, she’s the type that never shows it. The worst part is, she’s my best friend, and to be honest, I forgot about it. I forgot that her parents are dead. I never knew her parents, after all. It’s such a given: she, Weeza, and Teensy, that I forget what’s missing.  Though I know Weeza and Teensy are good to her, I never ask if it’s enough, or if it will ever be enough. I swallow hard, and try to find the right words.

“I just realized, I’m a crappy friend,” I say.


          I can’t speak for a moment, and I take in a sharp breath. The interior is whitewashed curving brickwork, almost glowing in the moonlight. In some places the plaster chips away revealing bricks below. A rusty banister bolted into the wall curves up to the top of the lighthouse. I crane my neck up, trying to follow the path of the stairs to the top without feeling dizzy. Long dark cracks snake their way up the wall. Feathers are strewn across the floor; a small nest is tucked under the stairwell, along the edge of the wall. There’s a dank and musty smell, mixed with the scent of salty air and water, and something I don’t recognize, earthy and pungent, which must be from the birds. 


 Maggie sighs for the second time and fusses around next to our bikes. “Can you please hurry up? Some guys are coming down the street — you’re gonna make me look like a total freak.”

It’s hard not to laugh. “Nice Maggie, if you don’t stop, I’ll wait until they’re right next to us and make myself look even weirder.” 

“Is that possible?” She pushes her bangs off her forehead. “Seriously, come on, they’re cute,” she whines, dragging out the “u” in cute.

“How can you tell they’re cute from so far away?”

She leans over her handlebars, staring down the street, her eyes squinting a little. “It’s instinctual. I can feel their cuteness.”


Visit YA Highway to see lines from the rest of the crew.


  1. Wow, great stuff! Your writing just seems to flow naturally. So when will this be on shelves again? :)

  2. "I can feel their cuteness." Oh man. I know EXACTLY what she's saying. I already like Maggie.

  3. I love the first and fourth sections. When I was reading your book the first section was what made me swoon for you... but not in a creepy way. :-)

    I loved it-- your writing is like a water color painting and it's wonderful.

  4. First of all, I love that your book is called The Insect Collector, because insects are awesome.

    And these lines are great! Her friend seems hilarious.

  5. Love these! The last one, especially, made me smile. "I can feel their cuteness." :)

  6. thanks thanks thanks ladies-- I love reading everyone else's

    Holly, it's mutual!

    @Pam, I'm doing all I can, believe me!

    @Sarah, everyone needs a friend like Maggie

    Erinn, not taking it the creepy way!

    @Kaitlin- I agree. I heart bugs
    @Katy- can't wait to see yours!

  7. Wow!! I love how these range from heartbreaking to funny to just plain great :) You're a fantastic writer!

  8. Love the last one! So funny :)

  9. Oooh... edits. Can't wait to hear that you're DONE!!! And to read your book!

  10. Erinn's comment, ...Your writing is like a water color painting and it's wonderful. is probably one of the best compliments I've ever heard. What else can I say when that's been said?! Lol

  11. What Sarah said-- love the instinctual cuteness line!

  12. Ack! It is so unfair to leave us with 'I see it and I know why we’re here'!

    What does she see??? I want to know! The mood up to that point was very dreamy (soft sand, relaxing noise of the ocean) and that makes the last line really pack a punch.

    I also love the description of the lighthouse. 'Long dark cracks snake their way up the wall' gave me shivers. Great verb! The detail of the nest and the smell really made it come alive to me. Please tell me it took you a long time to write that! I look back over some paragraphs and remember the HOURS that it took to get it right and just groan that it only takes a few seconds to read.

    The names Weeza and Teensy are awesome and the power to feel cuteness made me giggle. Great stuff!

  13. These are lovely, Katharine -- just LOVELY. I'm so enticed to read your book now... :)

    Are these all from the same book?? I love LOVE "I never ask if it’s enough, or if it will ever be enough." That sings, you know? I can feel exactly what the narrator feels and I can also feel what her friend feels. Fantastic.

  14. I love the second excerpt especially.

    One nit-pick on the first one: "sink into it." could just be "sunk in." Unless you're worried about ending with a preposition...I don't worry about those kinds of things in fiction.

  15. thanks Emilia!

    I appreciate it KT!

    I know Erin, I am looking forward to that day, too.

    Thanks Abby, that is certainly one of the kindest compliments I've ever gotten about ANYTHING.

    Thanks Kate!

    Thanks Carrie-- I have been working on this for a year. That line came late in the process, which I think says a lot about how I've grown in that time.

    Thanks Susan, yep all the same book. My girl-mystery-solver book.

    Thanks Jennifer for pointing that out. I like to break a rule here or there, but not in a way that takes the reader out of the story... I appreciate you pointing that out!

  16. I need to know what the "it" is in the first passage, like, NOW.

    I also love "It's instinctual. I can feel their cuteness." Such a great line.

  17. It's me again. Sorry, I should have said "sink in" earlier...if I'm going to nit-pick I should at least stay in the right tense!

  18. Though on some level I know it has to be tough for her that both her parents are dead, she’s the type that never shows it. The worst part is, she’s my best friend, and to be honest, I forgot about it. I forgot that her parents are dead.

    That pretty much blew my mind, no exaggeration. It shattered my heart about a million times over, and it's just SO honest. Brilliant.

  19. Such a beautiful and lyrical flow to your writing! <3 it!

  20. I finally got to reading this today. That second passage was wonderful and slammed me right in the gut. Great job.

  21. "I just realized, I'm a crappy friend" - Oh, right to the heart!

    And I love the last line, too: "I can feel their cuteness." Fun!

  22. I have to keep some secrets, right Rebecca? (hint: it's the lighthouse)

    No worries Jennifer!

    thanks you Bri- that is a wonderful compliment.

    thanks Amanda, and Alicia, and Jess-- all of your comments have made my week!


YAY for comments! Thanks for adding to the conversation.