Wouldn't we all like to write Memorable Scenes? Or maybe even just one?
There is a difference, however, between Memorable and Remembered.
I remember countless scenes from books I've read or movies I've seen, but very few, if any, became Memorable.
So, how does an author write a true Memorable scene? I contend it can't be done logically or intellectually. A true Memorable scene just happens.
Most novels I've read have not stayed with me. If I cannot recall the plot of a story, I suppose I enjoyed it while reading, but forgot about it when finished.
Examples of scenes I remember:
The Outsider by Penelope Williamson. Scene: When the gunshot gunslinger who walked to widow Rachel's farm emerges from her cabin, appearing fit, with a gun in his hand and told the men who had come to take her land to leave. Rachel is a Plain woman, and the gun startles her, and yet she welcomes his interference. I remember it from the movie and the book, because the gunslinger has gathered all his strength to rise from his bed and pretend nothing is wrong. Good scene, but not Memorable.
This Calder Range by Janet Dailey: In this first novel of a long series, Charles Benteen Calder takes his new bride, his Lorna, on the long treacherous journey to Montana to homestead. Lorna does not take the journey very well, being a pampered young woman, and on one long dry stretch, Calder instructs his men and Lorna that they could have only one cup of water per day until they crossed the barren land. Now, Lorna had brought cuttings from a rose bush with her, completely against Benteen's orders, and until now, she'd managed to keep the cloth around the cuttings damp. But now, she has only one cup, and Benteen catches her dribbling a few drops on her precious rose cuttings. He goes into a rage and throws the cuttings as far as he can into the darkness, and into the weeds and grass. She screams and runs out to find the pieces, and on her hands and knees, she tries to gather them up. He won't allow it, and wrestles her to the ground. From then on, Lorna holds a grudge against her new husband. The story is so good, and I easily recall this scene.
The only thing that keeps it from being Memorable is the number of people who have read it. I think it's a great scene and sets the stage for a lifelong battle between the man and the woman.
Another remembered scene: In St. Agnes' Stand when the man rides away and leaves the little boy, and the little boy runs after him, crying, "Take me with youuuuu!" Breaks my heart every time.
Memorable Scenes: Of course, the last scene in the movie Gone With the Wind qualifies. I think without a doubt Rhett's last words to Scarlet, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." was Memorable. Scarlet had plenty of good scenes, and I remember and recall almost all of them. But even her raised fist to Heaven scene, in which she says, "I will never go hungry again!", does not rank as Memorable.
Oliver Twist: The young boy says, "Please, sir, I want some more." Why is this Memorable? Because of the horror of what the man does to the child, and the words said, adding that the boy would be hung. Who can read that and not feel rage and hatred for the man, and pity and admiration for the boy?
A scene that becomes Memorable, in my opinion, has shock value and enormous emotion.
Also, the number of times it is repeated probably helps make it Memorable.
These quotes are from Memorable scenes in movies, and perhaps were books first:
"Here's looking at you, kid."
"I couda been a contender."
"Make him an offer he can't refuse."
"You talkin' to me?"
"Shane! Come back!"
"You can't handle the truth."
Remember these scenes? They're listed as Memorable.
Mrs. Robinson's leg shot.
The Box of Chocolates scene.
The girl in the red coat.
The shower scene.
Apparently we remember visual scenes better than we do those we read. Probably, the level of the reader's memory coupled with the number of times it's repeated makes the scene Memorable.
I've read so many books, I'm certain there were some Memorable scenes in some of them.
What have I missed?
Do you recall a Memorable scene in a book you've read?
Do you think you've written a Memorable scene?
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
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