And when the story becomes a classic, the first line can sometimes become as famous as the novel itself, as the quotes below demonstrate. Winners of worst opening lines in literature car talk. What would the first line of your biographyautobiography be. The american scholar presents a list of the ten worst opening lines in novels. Jun 03, 20 the 10 best and worst ya titles jill jun 3, 20 both on this site and around the interwebs, ive seen many an article about book titles that are so ridiculous theyre hilarious. See more ideas about books, childrens books and childrens literature. The books listed below have been cited by a variety of notable critics in varying media sources. Since 1982 the bulwer lytton fiction contest has challenged man, woman, and very precocious child to write an atrocious opening sentence to a hypothetical bad novel.
I always assumed the quote going on to talk about the age of wisdom and the age of foolishness, the epoch of belief and incredulity, the seasons of light and dark, and so on had two levels to it. The lion symbolizes youth, strength, and hope for the old man, allowing the writer to end the novel on a positive note. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of a tale of two cities, test your literary knowledge with our opening lines quiz. Word limit is 50 wordsand yes, ill be counting and there are prizes. Great first lines can sell a novel and draw a reader into the book, but what makes a great first line.
Entrants are invited to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels that is, deliberately bad according to the official rules, the prize for winning the contest is a pittance. The titles on the list span centuries and genres and include classics and contemporary novels that are certain to become classics. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading from worst to first. By now, this line has become a truism, but in its day, it was a philosophical reflection on the subjectivity of history and human experience. Dec 18, 2015 38 best first lines in novels ya edition 12182015 02. The first lines of novels set the tone for the story to come. I saw it, and closed the book back up and put it back on the shelves. Behind the scenes of continentals remarkable comeback. Heavyhanded rhymes and rhythms are going to be more apparent than plot holes etc. Download it once and read it on your kindle device, pc, phones or tablets. Our highly subjective list includes worst firsts from famous and infamous writers.
Opening lines from literature quiz presented by abebooks. This infographic features 34 compelling first lines from some of the most famous books of all time. Also, arguably thats not the first line of the novel since finnegans. Were honored to receive thousands of odious entries from around the world each year. Billy bob gushed like a broken water main about his new love. The writers first line generator will create an intriguing opening for your novel or short story. Sep 30, 2014 the american scholar presents a list of the ten worst opening lines in novels. May 10, 2012 still it is the first line a reader will see. Apr 03, 2019 literature quiz novel by opening lines. In fact, the line is so infamously bad that it is the inspiration for the bulwerlytton fiction contest blfc, an annual tongueincheek competition sponsored by the english department of san jose university, which announced its 2012 winners this week. Here are 10 opening doozies, lines that make it difficult to continue reading. The playfor which briony had designed the posters, programs and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in red crepe. The numerous anecdotes alone are worth the price of the book.
Since 1982 the english department at san jose state university has sponsored the bulwerlytton fiction contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges. Depending on what youre reading, a great first line can be funny or meaningful or sad or somehow all of the above. The contest has spawned four books featuring selections from the contest entries. This line is so famous that when i first read a tale of two cities i was surprised to realize it came from a book. I cant decide if exit, pursued by a bear from shakespeares a winters tale is the greatest or the worst line ever written. Esther lombardi is a veteran journalist who has written about literature, education, and technology. In a flurry of flame and fur, fangs and wicker, thus ended the worlds first and only hot air baboon ride.
The bulwerlytton fiction contest awards its prize to the worst of the. This complete summary of the ideas from gordon bethunes book from worst to first shows that all successes in your business or in your career will be the result of your ability to create, develop and maintain healthy and honest relationships. Entrants were invited to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels. The first sentence in the catcher in the rye immediately connects to the conflict that runs through the entire book. A tale of two cities first line contrasts the two cities and hints at the problems within the cities. The 10 best first lines in fiction books the guardian. Jul 01, 2009 the best of the worst opening sentences. Number 6 isnt bad as an opening line you know this will be a story. Cannery row in monterey in california is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.
It was the best of lines, it was the worst of lines. Oct 12, 2019 esther lombardi is a veteran journalist who has written about literature, education, and technology. Philip rahv wrote that the first thing to be said about this novel is that it is so egregiously bad. In other words you create, on purpose, a really bad opening line to a pretend novel. The first line of a book can set the tone for the entire novel, but what if it. Search, watch, and cook every single tasty recipe and video ever all in one place. It was described by paul constant of the stranger as the best worst novel ever, saying that every line of every page struggles. Adding and then the murders began instantly makes any book. The nightingale was one of my favorite reads of 2016. Every year i go through all the books i read the prior year novels only and discuss the opening line from each book on my author blog. I cant remember ever highlighting more of a books opening chapter than i did with that book. Runnerup, 2008 theirs was a new york love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city, their passion was open 247, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling warm, moist breath through manhole covers. Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. Maybe really my favorite first line is the first line of a portrait of the artist as a young man, which, for me, is the best line in the book, the way the best line of ulysses is the last.
The first and last lines of iconic books, and what they reveal. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in. Strategy 11 first sentences that guarantee the rest of your email wont get read even if your intentions are professional and sincere. Create your worst first line and jillian will judge which one was the best worst. A great first line will pull you in, introduce you to the narrator, and set the tone for the entire book. The first line is the authors chance to make a first impression and to capture the imagination of the reader, and the very best books will keep the reader hooked from the first line to the very last line. These first lines are inspired by analysis of some classic openers. The best of the worst opening sentences books the guardian. The first and last lines of iconic books, and what they. There is a formula to compelling opening lines and it is about creating a story within a single line even if it is not the story that will ultimately be told. Iirc, the pages stuck a bit and the spine creaked, so i was probably the first person since the book had been originally put in the bookcase to actually open said book.
From worst to first outlines gordon bethunes triumphs. That being said, your comment raises some important questions. Is it easier to spot a bad line of poetry than a bad line of prose. The bulwerlytton fiction contest blfc is a tongueincheek contest, held annually and sponsored by the english department of san jose state university in san jose, california. I cant remember ever highlighting more of a book s opening chapter than i did with that book. For the first month of ricardo and felicitys affair, they greeted one another at. Writers first line generator start your story with a.
In 1859, charles dickens started the first line of his. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times is, of course, the famous opening line to charles dickens classic about the french revolution. The books are now out of print such is the state of our country today, but you. Behind the scenes of continentals remarkable comeback kindle edition by bethune, gordon. Mar 08, 2017 the first line of almost any story can be improved by making sure the second line is, and then the murders began. The atlanta journalconstitution from worst to first is gordon bethunes story of continental airlines turnaround under his command. In 1859, charles dickens started the first line of his novel. Hemingways last line ends with a reference to a dream described within the first fifteen pages of the book, allowing the story to come full circle. Rate 5 stars rate 4 stars rate 3 stars rate 2 stars rate 1 star.
Everything you need to know about selfpublishing a book. And who can forget the call me ishmael beginning of herman melvilles maritime classic moby dick. I dont agree with all their choices, but i agree that most are. Shes got long, beautiful, drainclogging hair, more curves than an underthesink water trap, and she moves with the ease of a motorized toilet snake through a fourinch sewer line, but what she sees in me, a simple plumber, ill never know.279 1441 154 1033 1002 1080 1504 1336 1459 1544 912 894 794 375 503 1241 512 123 1343 1440 1070 811 4 1352 855 38 670 768 94 576 1521 513 1287 682 1040 1141 86 973 815 667