34 First Lines of Famous Books You Wished You’d Written [Infographic]

    first lines of famous books - infographic

    They seem so effortless, don’t they?

    The first lines of famous books?

    Unless, of course, you’re a writer yourself. And then they seem anything but.

    In the last of this series of 3 infographics I wanted to go from all that macro stuff on how to create a best-seller down to the nitty-gritty – the first line.

    Perhaps nothing gives the newbie – or seasoned – novel writer such chills. And such writer’s block.

    Which is where this nifty infographic from Scribendi comes in. 34 first lines of famous books to fan the flames of your creativity!

    t lines of famous books - infographic

    What’s your favourite first lines of famous books? Share them in the comments below.

    About the author

      Laura Tong

      Laura Tong is the Editor here at Write To Done and her writing regularly features on such top blogs as HuffPost, Tiny Buddha and of course Write To Done. She’s a published author (traditional and indie) and has written books as diverse as luxury travel, surreal fiction, autobiographical and personal development.

    • Hester says:

      My most favorite (so far) is from The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walsh:

      “I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a dumpster.”

    • anas says:

      It is Very Helpful. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Julia Mia says:

      Really nice update, well done guys.

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    • Hello. Great article. Thanks for the trouble

    • aamir says:

      Hi Laura,it is a whole new perspective to the subject, loved your post

    • Gladys Oke says:

      I need more of this

    • Karen says:

      thanks for this article.

    • Two of my favorite openings –

      ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again’ – Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

      “No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against the hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.” – Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

    • Daphne says:

      My favourite first line of a novel, without doubt, comes from Salley Vickers’ 2001 book Instances of the Number 3: Instances of the Number 3. “After Peter Handome died, people were surprised that his widow seemed to spending so much time with his mistress.”

    • Barbara says:

      My personal favorite is the first line from A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

    • Ella Birt says:

      Great find! Thanks for sharing this and introducing me to Scribendi. This infographic is absolutely gorgeous and inspiring.

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    • Thabo says:

      Here come shit. Just one look, and I can see it coming. (Andre Brink, Philida.

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