Famous First Lines
“Halfway down a by-street of one of our New England towns stands a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely peaked gables, facing towards various points of the compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in the midst.”
— The first line of “The House of the Seven Gables,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne had hoped to finish his novel, “The House of the Seven Gables,” by November 1850. Like many writers over the decades, Hawthorne struggled with deadlines. Fortunately, he finished the book and it was published by Ticknor and Fields of Boston in April 1851.
In honor of National Novel Writing Month, which helps writers gain traction and even finish a novel in the month of November, Salem’s Witch City Writers will introduce participants to famous first lines in historical and modern literature. Writers are invited to take part in a communal writing session that includes 30 minutes of speed-writing. In defiance of the blank page, writers will use famous first lines as inspiration. Use the time and group’s energy to embark on a new writing project or reinvigorate momentum in an existing project.
Famous First Lines takes place at The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby St., Salem, Massachusetts, Saturday, November 3, 10:30 a.m.
Thanks to the generosity of Mass Humanities and the Witch City Writers, this event is free. To RSVP, those interested may visit www.7gables.org/events, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 978-744-0991, ext. 152.
About The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association
The mission of The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association is to preserve The Gables’ National Historic Landmark and leverage its power as an icon of American culture to engage diverse audiences and provide education opportunities for the local immigrant community. For more information visit www.7gables.org.
In 2018, The House of the Seven Gables celebrates a singular milestone. Built 350 years ago, it is still a place where stories are made. Ever the provider of shelter and support, The House of the Seven Gables inspires us as it once inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne. Where sea captains once found their footing, immigrants become citizens, visitors explore period rooms, historians pore over archives, children frolic in the gardens, and authors find inspiration. Celebrate this milestone with us and make your own stories at The House of the Seven Gables.
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This post was written by Julie Arrison-Bishop