Best First Lines in Literature

Best First Lines in Literature

Did you read Grammarly’s recent blog post on #GrammoWriMo? If so, you know that our team is working hard to assemble the largest group of writers to ever draft a community-written novel for #NaNoWriMo this November. So far, we’ve experienced an overwhelmingly positive response from our writing community – and we can’t wait to work with each one of you to draft the group book.

(If you haven’t signed up to participate, please visit our #GrammoWriMo sign-up page now! You must sign up by October 25, 2013.)

Those of you who follow @Grammarly on Twitter know that we are obsessed with reading (and sharing) meaningful first and last lines in literature. Here are some examples:


  • “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” George Orwell, 1984
  • “It began as a mistake.” Charles Bukoski, Post Office


  • “Are there any questions?” ‪Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
  • “The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.” J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

There’s no question that both the first and the last line in any novel can go a long way in setting the tone and in creating a sense of closure, respectively. That’s why it is so important to us that the first and last lines of our #GrammoWriMo group novel are interesting, insightful, and meaningful.

Gayle BrandeisEnter Gayle Brandeis. Gayle has been writing poems and stories since she was four years old. Her novel Self Storage was originally written in a single month when she participated in National Novel Writing Month in November 2003 – she’s a #NaNoWriMo expert!

Grammarly is pleased to announce that Gayle will be drafting the first and last lines of our community-written novel. Her experience with #NaNoWriMo and her successful writing career speak for themselves; we can’t wait to see what she’ll come up with!

More About Gayle Brandeis

Gayle is the author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write (HarperOne), Dictionary Poems (Pudding House Publications), the novels The Book of Dead Birds (HarperCollins), Self Storage (Ballantine), Delta Girls (Ballantine), and My Life with the Lincolns (Holt). She released The Book of Live Wires, the sequel to The Book of Dead Birds, as an e-book in 2011.

Connect with Gayle Brandeis on Twitter and Facebook.

What are your favorite first or last lines?

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