1. In This Immortal, by Zelazny, when Conrad says, “Feathers or Lead?”
2. In Twenty Years After, by Dumas, when M. de Beaufort removes the poniard from the pie and says, “I hold one of these poniards to La Remee’s heart and say to him, ‘My friend, I am truly distressed, but if you make any movement or utter a cry, you are a dead man.'”
It’s things like that, those catch-your-breath instants, that are what I live for–why I say I’ll do anything for a good scene. A long, slow build-up, and a payoff that makes the brain explode.
So–can you think of moments like that, lines that are the culmination of a scene that make your heart skip a beat? (And, just so no one thinks I’m fishing for compliments, let us exclude any that I might be responsible for).