The origins of greatness

Howard's End“Everything important always begins from something trivial.”

– Donald Hall

A great quote from the American poet Donald Hall.

As any student of history knows, many of the greatest wars and tragedies in history were sparked by events that, with the benefit of hindsight, appear trivial and easy to avoid.

Likewise for authors.

Howard’s End opens with an umbrella accidentally picked up at a London concert hall. In Pride and Prejudice, a new neighbor worth 10,000 pounds a year has arrived in the neighborhood.

These trivial incidents provide the perfect opening to the drama that is about to unfold in these classic novels.

What do you think, readers and writers? Do trivial incidents sometimes spark your story ideas? Do you have a favorite novel in which a seemingly trivial incident sets off the whole story?


  1. ledrakenoir on September 2, 2016 at 9:13 am

    The game of coincidences is one of the most inspirational sources… 🙂

  2. kimberlysullivan on September 2, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    Absolutely true!

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