I wrote a book once. Not long after I finished it, I was given this piece of advice: to come up with a one-sentence summary of it, so that if I was ever in a position where I was speaking to someone who could potentially publish it, I’d have a clear and succinct pitch.
I spent a lot of time crafting that one sentence. In the end, I came up with something like, “It’s about three women whose latent telepathic abilities are awakened when they Cross to help save another world.” I have no idea if that’s any good as a one-sentence pitch. (Does it make you want to read it?) But I do know how much time and effort I put into it, so I have a good idea of how hard capturing the essence of something big and distilling it down into a very few words, interesting words, can be.
That’s why I like this quote. It’s from the Vin Diesel movie xXx. In it, Diesel plays Xander Cage, an adrenaline junkie whose idea of a good time is stealing the corvette of a video game banning, rap music hating, all-around asshole senator, and making a political statement by doing this:
Xander is pressed into the spy business – the film, intended to be the first in a franchise, was billed as James Bond for modern times – where his love of adrenaline continues to serve him well through a series of increasingly improbable situations and stunts. Driving cars, racing motorbikes, base jumping, rock climbing, parasailing. Xander can do it all.
When he first meets the villain, Yorgi (Marton Cskokas), Xander describes himself like this …
I like anything fast enough to do something stupid in.
… and I couldn’t help but admire the writer who not only encapsulated the character so efficiently, but also managed to make “speed demon” sound like something way more than it actually is.
It certainly helped make the idea that Xander, with absolutely zero training, is as capable at infiltrating enemy strongholds and thwarting anarchist plots as he is at going really, really fast, a little easier to swallow.
To see previous posts in my Quote series, click here.