Fave First & Last Lines

As we head into prime summer reading time, I thought it’d be fun to look at opening and closing lines. Maybe there’ll be one or two that catch your eye for your TBR list. It’s also a good way to see what works and what doesn’t in our own writing.

The lines below are all from recent books. Let me know which ones you like best in the comments trail.

My faves are #10 and #11 for openings and #5 and #8 for closings. Here’s what I learned: go for the intrigue factor in your opening, and aim for resolution and lyricism, poetry and peace at the end.

I’ll share which books these are from later in the week, though I bet you can guess some!


  1. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
  2. The pipe under the sink was leaking again.
  3. By the sea, Rictus had been born, and now it was by the sea that he would die.
  4. When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.
  5. Cazaril heard the mounted horsemen on the road before he saw them.
  6. Even in high summer, Tintagel was a haunted place; Igraine, Lady of Duke Gorlois, looked out over the sea from the headland.
  7. Ash fell from the sky.
  8. I never used to keep close track of the phases of the moon.
  9. Lessa woke, cold.
  10. There’s a certain sound the human head makes when it hits the trunk of a tree.
  11. I’d never given much thought to how I would die—though I’d had reason enough in the last few months—but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.
  12. All of us have our little problems and insecurities.
  13. It was night again.


  1. His ladies would be waiting.
  2. Mother of us all, he was glad that now, of all times conceivable, he, F’lar, rider of bronze Mnementh, was a dragonman of Pern.
  3. I take his hand, holding on tightly, preparing for the cameras, and dreading the moment when I will finally have to let go.
  4. What had changed was me.
  5. Vin closed her eyes, simply feeling the warmth of being held. And realized that was all she had  ever really wanted.
  6. I settled back to ask Susan over, and enjoyed the warmth of the fire.
  7. “They don’t know we’re not allowed to use magic at home. I’m going to have a lot of fun with Dudley this summer…”
  8. He felt grounded and at home already under his brother’s gentle human hands.
  9. And he leaned down to press his cold lips once more to my throat.
  10. Her mule was hobbled on the hill behind, and upon it Jason’s black armour glittered cold in the sun.
  11. Have I mentioned how much I love my wife?
  12. Her work was done.
  13. It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die.


  1. A fun idea!
    I like openings 6 and 10. As for closings, I'm for 4 and 12 - I like solid endings.

  2. Fun post! Who could not love #10 for an opening? And closing #13 is evocative...but of course #7 is my favorite :-)

  3. Well, I only know the first opening one for sure... must be out of touch!

    I like opening #10 too, and #4 sets us up to learn more... probably closing #13 is my favourite. Quite bleak.

  4. I liked #10 opening and #11 closing... both sounded interesting enough to wonder what happens next :)

    PS... thanks :)

    1. I think you'd definitely enjoy the book with the #11 closing.

  5. Huh... I like option 8 in both the openings and the closings.

    In the opening, I want to know WHY the character now keeps track of the moon.

    In the closing, there's something about it that reads like a nice book end, a nice place to leave off and end the story.

    1. Both excellent choices!! I'll be back with the book names tomorrow so you can check them out.

  6. What a fun list! I love this. But some I didn't recognize and I wanna know what they are from! From your list, I think my favorite opening was #4 and my favorite closing was #10. Of course I loved seeing a Dragonriders of Pern entry!

    1. The book list will be up tomorrow. Woohoo - Pern shout out! ;)

  7. Those were fun...but I need the answers now (for most of them). #1 is my favorite. Is closing #3 The Hunger Games?

  8. This is a very interesting exercise! I usually spend a lot of time thinking about the opening line of my novels, as well as the closing one, but I hadn't taken the time to select my favorite ones. Great idea! I'll have to try it. I knew only a few of them but I'll have to come back for the answers on most.

    Great post!

  9. This was fun! I could guess a few of them. :)

  10. I can guess some of them, particularly the first lines.

  11. I have always been a big fan of first lines! It was fun reading all of these. I wish I knew where they came from :)


  12. I recognized some of those! This one I didn't: "It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die." But what a powerful, scary ending!

    1. So here's a secret...I haven't read this book yet. It's still sitting on my shelf. And I can't quite decide if this works for me as an ending. It's a great line - it's just got such a duh-duh-duuuuh vibe that I have a feeling I won't like it as the end. I'll want more!

  13. I can't believe I'm just now seeing this! I'm terrible. :(

    I like openers #5 & #10 and closers #5 & #9.