If my previous post didn’t help free up the creative juices, here’s a list of last lines – writing a story from the end, backwards, requires a different sort of imaginative leap, but it can be very entertaining. As before, you can delete the last line after you’ve finished. One of these last lines is the conclusion to one of the novels from the first lines list.
‘Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this!’ Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
‘I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.’ Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
‘After all, tomorrow is another day.’ Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
‘It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.’ A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
‘So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.’ The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
‘But he is not always alone. When the long winter nights come on and the wolves follow their meat into the lower valleys, he may be seen running at the head of the pack through the pale moonlight or glimmering borealis, leaping gigantic above his fellows or throat a-bellow as he sings a song of the younger world, which is the song of the pack.’ The Call of the Wild – Jack London
‘But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.’ The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
‘Send me word that he has come back.’ The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint Exupéry
‘In a moment it would be everywhere. Here it was. She ran into it.’ Invitation to the Waltz – Rosamond Lehmann
‘Edward was right: it was getting late, Laura was waiting for us, he needed rest, and I had a long journey ahead of me; and once you begin to admit the truth there is no ending.’ The Chymical Wedding – Lyndsay Clarke
‘I was cured all right.’ A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
‘She knew at last that she had found what she had been seeking. She saw that gaiety, that kindliness, that valour of the spirit, beckoning her on from a serene old age.’ South Riding – Winifred Holtby
‘You come when you can, and leave when you must. The show is continuous. Good night.’ The Cunning Man – Robertson Davies
‘The song died away; they heard the river, bearing down the snows of winter into the Mediterranean.’ A Room with a View – E M Forster
The last line of “A Tale of Two Cities” is my long-time favorite. To have stayed with me all of these decades since reading it as a teenager says something indeed!
If I had to choose one it would be the last line from ‘Invitation to the Waltz’. It has a really mysterious feel to it.
What a different twist on getting past writer’s block! I love this!
We tried it at my writing group and got some wonderful results – when you separate the line from the rest of the novel it really frees up your imagination 🙂