Niamh Clune

Environment, poetry, comment, children's books,

Story Corner With Dr. NanaPlum: Opening Lines grande jete best opening lines for children's books

Great opening lines should hook the reader, drawing them immediately into the story. These days, our language tends to be less grammatically correct, but perhaps less cumbersome. Personally, I love the way English used to be written and spoken.  I don’t think it possible to break the rules of grammar successfully if you don’t know them in the first place. I liken learning the basics of writing to learning the plié in ballet; learn it, and one day you will be able to perform a perfect grand jeté just like Gene Schiavone (inset) dancing La Bayadere with The Maryinsky Theatre!

Below is an example of great opening lines in which the author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, was daring enough to write one sentence that was 148 words long…

“Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies’ eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place; it was reputed to be an intricate, headlong brook in its earlier course through those woods, with dark secrets of pool and cascade; but by the time it reached Lynde’s Hollow it was a quiet, well-conducted little stream, for not even a brook could run past Mrs. Rachel Lynde’s door without due regard for decency and decorum; it probably was conscious that Mrs. Rachel was sitting at her window, keeping a sharp eye on everything that passed, from brooks and children up, and that if she noticed anything odd or out of place she would never rest until she had ferreted out the whys and wherefores thereof.”

Lucy Maud Montgomery

What a sentence! I am definitely hooked and want to read on. Anne talks breathlessly and at great length throughout this wonderful story, but the narrative keeps pace with her. As it’s a classic, You can download this novel for FREE HERE Find out all about the movie HERE, niamh clune, Best Opening Lines, Best Children's Books

A New Beginning

Buy it on audio HERE

Find our children’s books HERE where I hope you will find some more GREAT Opening Lines! They may not be 148 words long, but I hope our little books will make you want to read on!





About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books.

13 comments on “Story Corner With Dr. NanaPlum: Opening Lines

  1. Gretchen Del Rio
    July 8, 2014

    I love this book. Now I think that I will reread it. Thank you.


    • You are welcome, Gretchen. I find that I am re-reading any of those children’s books that helped shape my imagination and inform my awakening consciousness.


  2. Shawn MacKENZIE
    July 8, 2014

    Grand opening – reminds me of the first line of Sean O’Casey’s “I Knock at the Door.” Well over a page long. When I first read that as a kid, I believed anything was possible as long as you have the skill.


  3. Pendyala Pradeep
    July 8, 2014

    she would never rest until she had ferreted out the whys and wherefores thereof….I loved the sentence..but wonder, whether children would love it.


    • I guess children love it enough that it is one of the all-time classics. I think children love unusually expressed sentences, Pendyala. They certainy love new, surprising words that tip them up and turn somersaults. Thank you as always for dropping by.


  4. scillagrace
    July 8, 2014

    reminds me of Henry James… 🙂


  5. Patricia Tilton
    July 10, 2014

    It’s been a long time since I read the books. What a great opening. I miss that kind of writing. I love watching Megan Fellows in the series at least once a year. You are so right. We must no the rules of writing before we break them.


    • Many thanks for your comment Patricia. I also miss this kind of writing and have always been influenced and inspired by it.


  6. thiskidreviewsbooks
    July 10, 2014

    Well said, Dr. Clune! 😀


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