The fine folks at Perseus Book Group are undertaking a project called “Book: The Sequel.” They’re asking me (and a lot of other people and anyone else who wants to submit) to make up the first line of an imagined sequel to a well known book. For example:

“It turned out not to be the worst of times at all– they got so much worse later.”– from A Tale of Three Cities by Charles Dickens

“I thought I could, I thought I could, but you know I just couldn’t: they haven’t improved the track bed in years, the signaling belongs in the 1950s, you try burning coal these days in urban areas and legally I’m not allowed to carry milk, toys and a clown in the same open wagon anymore.”—From The Little Engine That Couldn’t (sequel to The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper)

“Call me, Ishmael!”—From Moby Dick’s Guide to Dating at Sea by Herman Melville

They’re taking submissions until May 28th (the first day of Book Expo America — I’ll be there on the 29th) and then will publish the book of the best openers within 48 hours.

Want to play? Submit at You can also read more here and follow along on the project’s twitter feed at (and if you want to follow me, I’m at

Should be a fun experiment in social media translating to traditional media. I have no idea what my submission will be, if at all. Stay tuned!

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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