46 Great Opening Lines: 18

Black are the brooding clouds and troubled the deep waters, when the Sea of Thought, first heaving from a calm, gives up its Dead. From The Chimes, a Goblin Story of Some Bells that Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In, Charles Dickens, 1845 Sometimes it’s not the first chapter that has… Continue reading


Journey to the centre: Great middle lines – 17

A few months ago I became interested in the middle lines of a story, which are usually, but not always, the turning point.  I posted on this blog 16 examples of great middle lines, then I went to New Zealand and lost my momentum with novels, not only because I had gone away and come… Continue reading


Journey to the centre: Great middle lines – 13

At the centre of Great Expectations is a paragraph about Pip’s love for Estella, about his great expectations to win her heart.  Though I’ve read this novel several times, I’d never thought of Dickens as romantic until today when I read this paragraph separately from the rest of the story: Far into the night, Miss… Continue reading


54 great opening lines: 37

Marley was dead: to begin with. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens ***** I love a story with a good moral, the type of story with a bad character who turns good;  it’s a formula based on the possibility that no one is without hope.  I read such stories to be spurred on.  The film Groundhog… Continue reading


54 great opening lines: 10

My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens ***** I had to read it at school and liked it then; I still like it now.  There’s enough Gothic darkness and joyful resolution to… Continue reading