*Got the baby back. My Toshiba laptop had a furked up video/screen wire. Fixed that and I'm up and rolling. I'm also paranoid about saving stuff ASAP. Now back to writing stuff.*
There's a line here and there in novels and shorts that just bring the whole story home. Some folks call it an eyeball kick, I call it a zinger line. The tone can be wry, blase, terrifying, regretful, funny, bitter, any number of deliveries.
Examples come to mind:
Shakespeare's Othello-- Act 5 just before he kills Desdemona:
"Put out the light, then put out the light."
This is the whole play, the motive, the passion. Everything Othello is, is about loving too much, beyond the ability to reason, up to and including destroying what he loves most. The light of reason, the light of love, the light of any day he will live through will be utterly obliterated.
Mark Twain's short story, Eve's Diary--
Adam speaks at Eve's grave: "Wherever she was, there was Eden."
Again, that is all that mattered to Adam. Not losing Paradise and being chastized by God, or seeing the horror of one son killing the other, but that partner who stood by him, she was everything.
Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus:
Lucifer offers Dr. F. some of the most beautiful women in history, Helen of Troy shows up and he remarks: "The face that launched a thousand ships." Though the Dr. forgets that the destruction over 20 years left scars to the present day.
Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" can certainly apply today when we have amazing technology and horrific genocide.
Not all lines will resonate the same with everyone. Sometimes they're at the beginning of a work or scattered inside or at the end.
Some of my fav lines from my works:
--'the stars picked holes in the night'. I like because it's not describing friendly twinkling stars like sequins. It's not a romantic or meditative sky. It's pulling off scabs, or sticking pins into flies.
--'None of your business what I kept my third eye on.' Says the woman who's more than she seems. She watches, she acts only when she needs to being gentle and nurturing to a friend while allowing others to dispose of a danger in a messy manner.
--'I like to take care of my birthday suit. It's the only one I have.' Is a blatant falsehood, but no other character knows it. For the speaker it's an inside joke, one only the reader will get.
What are your zinger lines?