Thursday, October 13, 2011

Let grief convert to anger. Blunt not the heart; enrage it.

the Tragedy of Macbeth: Act four scene three

When I started Birthright over a year ago, I had another quote from the play to begin my story. It was the start of Banquo's soliloquy in Act three: Thou hast it now: king, Cawdor, Glamis - all at the weird women promised. And, I fear, thou didst play most foully for it.'

Back then, though I had known the key elements of the story, I thought the idea of revenge for one of the characters was best summed up in that quote.

Now that the book is mostly complete, I see that the quote no longer fits. Instead, Malcolm's words to the grieving Macduff are much more apt.

'Blunt not the heart!' What a fantastic reverse image. For all of the people whose stories I am telling, this is critical advice.

I suppose like choosing the best fit title, for me getting the opening phrase just so is as important. As a reader, I take my time 'opening' a book - I check out the imprint page; I ponder over the dedication; I read the author's note and/or acknowledgments (if there are any); I wonder with anticipation as the selected lines before the book begins proper.

I hope my readers do the same.

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