Not long ago, a young writer told me a story about being taken to dinner by his successful, high-powered agent. The agent asked him what he wanted to write about, what subjects engaged his interest. To which the young writer replied that, to tell the truth, subject matter wasn't all that important to him. What he really cared about, what he wanted most of all was to write... really great sentences.
The agent sighed. His eyelids fluttered. After a moment he said, "Promise me that you will never, ever in your life say that to an American publisher."
-- From Reading Like A Writer. HarperCollins, 2006.