Thursday, June 24, 2010

69 Line-by-line Novel Opening Contest: Round One Winners

Congratulations to the 75 Round One winners in our Line-by-line contest. Our judge, agent Natalie Fischer of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, had a hard time eliminating 25 of the original entries based on the first sentence submitted. In the end, the reason for elimination was that the 25 entries she dropped just didn't make her feel compelled to read the second sentence.

In accordance with our rules, the following contestants are invited to submit the first two sentences for the next round. Entries must be submitted via comments to this post by Tuesday 6/29/10. If desired, you may edit your first sentence to correct grammar or punctuation, but please submit it together with the second sentence.

Congrats to everyone who entered. Remember, each of the top 25 will receive some form of feedback from Natalie Fischer or one of our ten fabulous author volunteers. And good luck in the next round!

#1 Kat Zhang

Adie and I were born into the same body, our souls’ ghostly fingers entwined before we gasped our very first breath.

#2 Creepy Query Girl

‘How do you punish someone who’s already dead?’

#3 Pam Harris

"It's not that I'm ugly or anything."

#4 JayceeKaycee

The shriek of my cell phone in the quiet classroom meant only one thing: the killer had found us again.

#5 Natalie Aguirre

“You don’t know what it’s like not knowing if you’re like your real mom or dad,” Jasmine said.

#6 Christine

Mary Kate Stewart secretly hoped that her Calculus teacher would get hit by a taco truck.

#7 Hanna C. Howard

I am told it is wonderful to be beautiful.

#8 Stina Lindenblatt

It was like leaping off a ten-meter platform when you’re terrified of heights.

#10 Robyn Campbell

Anna threw open the barn door and smiled at Fancy, who stamped her foot and stuck her head over the stall opening.

#11 L.J. Boldyrev

There’s a dead girl in the trunk and all I can think about is how white the trees are.

#12 Marquita Hockaday

I’m in hell.

#13 Sangay Glass

Yeah, it was gross, but with only seconds to spare Aleksandra really had no choice.

#14 cchant

My hope of living a normal life in Lindenville faded faster than my fifteen dollar jeans the moment I got to the school bus stop.

#15 Dunnes in UK

Ellen’s forehead cracked painfully against the window as her Aunt’s ancient pick-up hit a huge hole in the questionable country road, waking her from the most bizarre dream.

#16 Janice

Ann stood in the foyer, pulling off her gloves and then her coat, and considered how little the war had changed things at home.

#17 Courtney Lowe

"Screams ripped me from sleep."

#18 Jenn Fitzgerald

Madame Bhut’s Finishing School in the town of Whut was known across Amalthea as a respectable place to send your daughter if you were hoping to marry her to a gentleman; not for producing evil queens with ideas of world domination.

#20 Heather

Amidst the never-ending fires and screams of defiant terror, Abby collapsed to the ground, feet twisting inward, eyes unwilling to stay open, and desperately wishing to pass out.

#21 Buffy Andrews

I have a secret.

#22 Margay

"I always knew my name would get me into trouble one day."

#24 Natalie C. Markey

Water churned all around like a water sprout encasing me in a prison.

#25 C David

The old van in the woods had been rooted in middle school lore since ages past.

#26 jamilamosi

My hands went numb as the officer gently told me the news.

#27 salarsenッ

The test began like all the rest, although the dead corpse look was different.

#28 Cambria Dillon

Whoever said cell phones made life easier was full of BS.

#29 Leah Odze Epstein

The day my parents tricked Rachel into signing herself into the "Program," they tricked me, too, bringing me with them as a decoy.

#30 Ebyss

Ellyssa, a.k.a. Subject 62, sprinted through the dark alley after escaping from her long-term captors who she’d thought of as family for eighteen years.

#31 Holly Dodson

Mandy Samkirk had no warning of the life-changing events about to unfold; only the lingering worry from a recurring dream that nagged at her thoughts.

#33 Heather Trent Beers

The last day of fifth grade should mark the beginning of a fun-filled summer for a girl.

#34 amongdahlias

Riding to school with Max Holden is only slightly less traumatizing than riding the big yellow bus.

#36 A. Grey

Life is so much easier without underwear.

#38 Julie Musil

This day is going to suck.

#41 Valerie

I died before I was even born.

#42 Jess

Unfortunately for the Fredalia Tigers, Regina Brinkwell chose a crucial moment during the last soccer game of the season to lick her lips.

#43 Angela Ackerman

When Mom and Dad started throwing around the D word, I never imagined an old folk’s home would become my Post Divorce Relocation.

#44 Christine

Was he following her, or was she being paranoid?

#45 Tara

My name is Rufus William Gunther Chase, but people who know me call me Spoon.

#46 CL

What kind of animal sounds like a woman singing?

#47 Margaret Nichols

The bonfire in the middle of the grand plaza of New Tikal sent sparks up to greet the low-hanging stars; the stars Mau B'ah-Pakal hoped were still speaking to him, because no one else was.

#50 Traci Van Wagoner

My hand hovered over the latch, my stomach churning.

#52 Marilyn Hilton

If you're marked for trouble, it will trail you like a homeless dog, looking and acting like love but smelling like the shady bend of the river.

#54 shanini3

There was no mistaking the darkness on the eastern horizon; they were coming.

#55 Melissa Gill

The truck hit Milo.

#57 Sheila

Jacob shook the bamboo bars of his cage, but they held fast against his skinny arms.

#58 Tracy

Dearest Mother;

I know you’ve been wanting to know the latest gossip from this end of the underworld, but the truth is, that there hasn’t been much going on since his Evil Lordship succumbed to death by piano.

#59 JD Spikes

It wasn't the first time a good idea had come back to bite me in the ass, but i was afraid it might be the last.

#60 authorwithin

The cries from a flight of ravens echoed through the forest as they struggled to escape from the trees behind me.

#61 Ara Burklund

"Homo sapiens sluttiwhen drunkus--the subspecies to which I apparently belong."

#62 Liz

Freedom is feeling free, and separate ain’t equal, no matter what the law says.

#63 brenda

If this were a movie, you'd be hearing Elvis music right now, the soundtrack to my life.

#65 Suzanne Lilly

Jynx first found out about her father’s secret life by accident.

#66 Christine

Dragons are actually more curious than cats.

#67 shelley

"I'm never getting out of here."

#70 Amanda P.

Whispers of an outsider’s arrival have been flying between the mouths and ears of the Forsaken all day.

#71 mshatch

For Lucy, it began with a package; a small, unobtrusive, brown-paper wrapped package.

#72 PaigeC

We stood side by side in the dark, me holding a pack of matches, my best friend holding the gas can.

#73 Angela Ackerman

Not many people look down at a dead goldfish and wonder if that’s how they looked the day they died.

#74 jrmosher

Artificial lights brightened beneath the protective red dome, giving the illusion of morning over the campus of Red Cloak School.

#76 Deb

Crowded, loud, annoying.

#78 Kelly Hashway

I’d heard of signs of the apocalypse, but I didn’t know that one of them was a crazy guy wandering out of a forest and into my favorite hangout.

#79 Renee Pace

I am suffocating inside my plastic lined steel barred cage; dying with the thickening silence and quiet sobbing coming from the other room.

#81 Carol Riggs

Day #236: Status log…Dark Troy emerges from the rest station, yet finds himself still stranded in the High Desert with the zombie villagers.

#85 Angela Townsend

Sassy Smit was seven years old the afternoon she found Leroy Jebber dead.

#86 Alison Wells

First off, I just want to say I did not invite the aliens to drop into my backyard.

#87 Angela Townsend

Gloomy shadows crept across the tired oak floor, stealing what little light peered in through a set of stained glass windows.

#88 Bonnie Staring

I stared at the smoke drifting up from Erika’s fingertips.

#89 ann

As we follow Jax in the dark up the wide stone steps to the library, I feel like the marble lions on either side are somehow watching and will keep us safe, no matter what.

#90 Emily Casey

Ghosts can be so rude sometimes

#91 Jennifer

Don’t let them lock you in the closet, Nancy!

#92 andyland

"Shit, I may as well be dead," my mother said the day I killed her.

#94 Melissa Hed

Angela Fortunata woke up with a thump and a whack.

#95 Stefanie

The newspapers all said it was an accident.

#97 Annie McElfresh

Life lines.

#98 Authoress

Kate Raddish lived on an island and could not swim, which made her an anomaly from the start.

#100 Jordyn

In seventh grade math they taught us that a triangle is the sturdiest shape, stronger than rectangles or pentagons or anything else.

69 comments:

  1. I’d heard of signs of the apocalypse, but I didn’t know that one of them was a crazy guy wandering out of a forest and into my favorite hangout. Okay, it wasn’t exactly the end of the world, but it was the end of the life I’d known for the past twelve years.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The day my parents tricked Rachel into signing herself into the "Program," they tricked me, too, bringing me with them as a decoy. I should have known something was off when my father called a family meeting the night before.

    ReplyDelete
  3. ‘How do you punish someone who’s already dead?’ Gretchen Grey tightened her grip around an umbrella handle while she waited for her parents to arrive.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Madame Bhut’s Finishing School in the town of Whut was known across Amalthea as a respectable place to send your daughter if you were hoping to marry her to a gentleman; not for producing evil queens with ideas of world domination. That is, until Priscilla Martin escaped.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Life is so much easier without underwear. That was something I had clung to, but Sal was right when he told me underwear was useless.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The last day of fifth grade should mark the beginning of a fun-filled summer for a girl. Not the end of life as I know it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The shriek of my cell phone in the quiet classroom meant only one thing: the killer had found us again.

    My fingers fumbled, palms slick with dread, but I had to answer on the first ring—that was the rule.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What kind of animal sounds like a woman singing?

    The beach was empty of people, but the air was filled with a haunting melody.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I died before I was even born.

    It was April 13th, not a Friday, but it might as well have been.

    ReplyDelete
  10. #65
    Jynx first found out about her father’s secret life by accident. As she was eating a bowl of crunchy nuts and raisins cereal and reading the missing children alert on the side of the milk carton she realized how much she missed her dad.

    ReplyDelete
  11. #90 Ghosts can be so rude sometimes. I walked with Lisa to a shaded picnic table, ready to take a break from schoolwork when I suddenly felt very strange--awkward yet familiar, like that dream where you find yourself on stage and can’t remember what you’re supposed to be doing.

    ReplyDelete
  12. #50

    My hand hovered over the latch, my stomach churning. What I did today, I had never done before, and boy was I gonna get it!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Adie and I were born into the same body, our souls’ ghostly fingers entwined before we gasped our very first breath. Our first few years were our happiest—then came the worries: the tightness around our parents’ mouths, the frowns lining our kindergarden teacher’s forehead, the question everyone whispered when they thought we couldn’t hear.

    ReplyDelete
  14. #7 I am told it is wonderful to be beautiful. That there is nothing better in the world than a pretty face.

    ReplyDelete
  15. #15
    Ellen’s forehead cracked painfully against the window as her Aunt’s ancient pick-up hit a huge hole in the questionable country road, waking her from the most bizarre dream. A vague memory of writhing vines only amplified her desire to vomit.

    ReplyDelete
  16. #31 Mandy Samkirk had no warning of the life-changing events about to unfold; only the lingering worry from a recurring dream that nagged at her thoughts. She could still feel the shadow of evil that hung like an impenetrable cloud in the sky, the smell of decay.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Crowded, loud, annoying.
    Bus transportation stinks.

    ReplyDelete
  18. #10 Anna threw open the barn door and smiled at Fancy, who stamped her foot and stuck her head over the stall opening. Her mane trembled with excitement and Anna's hands began to tingle.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Congratulations to all those who made it through! Here's my first two lines:

    #38

    This day is going to suck.
    Across the street, a military car parks in front of MJ’s house.

    ReplyDelete
  20. #72
    We stood side by side in the dark, me holding a pack of matches, my best friend holding the gas can.
    “Burn it.”

    ReplyDelete
  21. There’s a dead girl in the trunk and all I can think about is how white the trees are. There ain’t no street lamps on this stretch of road, but still the trees glow like they’re lit from the ground up.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Kate Raddish lived on an island and could not swim, which made her an anomaly from the start.

    Of course, she had never told anyone about her fear of the ocean.

    ReplyDelete
  23. #30

    Ellyssa, a.k.a. Subject 62, sprinted through the dark alley after escaping from her long-term captors who she’d thought of as family for eighteen years. Not a family in the traditional sense, but family nevertheless.

    ReplyDelete
  24. #81:
    Day #236: Status log…Dark Troy emerges from the rest station, yet finds himself still stranded in the High Desert with the zombie villagers. De-materialization and transportation to another realm: failed.

    ReplyDelete
  25. #94

    Angela Fortunata woke up with a thump and a whack. What woke her, what had woken her every morning for the past two years, was pain.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Cool:) Allix was always her name, but I used her full Ukrainian name (Aleksandra) so there would be no mistaking her for a boy in round one.

    Thanks and cheers for all!

    #13

    Yeah, it was gross, but with only seconds to spare Allix had no choice. She plunged her fist in the toilet bowl and waited.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Unfortunately for the Fredalia Tigers, Regina Brinkwell chose a crucial moment during the last soccer game of the season to lick her lips. Wiping away the salty perspiration with a shudder, she was distracted for a split second, which was enough time for complete disaster to strike.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Congrats to everyone in the contest. Whether you move on or not, just entering can be a tough first step and should be celebrated. :)

    #43 (YA)

    When Mom and Dad started throwing around the D word, I never imagined an old folk’s home would become my Post Divorce Relocation. I mean as far as top choices go, it’s right up there with a land fill.

    #73 (MG)

    Not many people look down at a dead goldfish and wonder if that’s how they looked the day they died. Then again, I suppose not many people drown and then come back to life, either.

    ReplyDelete
  29. There was no mistaking the darkness on the eastern horizon; they were coming.
    Malaysa clutched the balcony railing as she stared out over the land in the predawn glow from the sky.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Wow, there are a lot of great starts here!!! Good luck to Ms. Fischer...

    ReplyDelete
  31. #57

    Jacob shook the bamboo bars of his cage again, but they held fast. I couldn’t look at him; not even when he whispered, “Blake, please.”

    ReplyDelete
  32. #61

    Homo sapiens sluttiwhen drunkus--the subspecies to which I apparently belong.

    My best friend Ani handed me a tall, clear-glass cup of Armenian coffee, the kind her mom used for readings down at the Psychic Connection.

    ReplyDelete
  33. #3: It's not that I'm ugly or anything. There's just a lot of me to love.

    ReplyDelete
  34. #12

    I'm in hell. Okay, so I’m really in school-again.

    ReplyDelete
  35. #21

    I have a secret. I know things.

    ReplyDelete
  36. #28

    Whoever said cell phones made life easier was full of BS. If it were true, then I wouldn’t have spent the past fourteen minutes sitting on my bed, half-naked, wondering why my thumb couldn’t do something as simple as press a button.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi, this is shelley, #67. I've been out of town and away from internet since Monday, working on said novel. Hope it's not too late.

    "I’m never getting out of here. That fat ass guard might as well take the key, put it between two thick slices of white bread, smear mayo on, and have it for his lunch, for all the good it’s gonna do me."

    ReplyDelete
  38. #8

    It was like diving off a ten-meter platform when you’re terrified of heights. Easy, really.

    ReplyDelete
  39. #22

    I always knew my name would get me into trouble one day. I just didn’t think it would take this long.

    ReplyDelete
  40. #14 -
    My hope of living a normal life in Lindenville faded faster than my fifteen dollar jeans the moment I got to the school bus stop. How could anything be normal after you hear you’re living with a dead girl?

    ReplyDelete
  41. #58

    Dearest Mother;
    I know you’ve been wanting to hear the latest gossip from this end of the underworld, but the truth is, there hasn’t been much going on since his Evil Lordship succumbed to death by piano. Hopefully you’ll be pleased that I’ve been trying not to complain about the piano not landing on Grok instead (and that I’ve only been taunting him in the gruel line at breakfast).

    ReplyDelete
  42. #45

    My name is Rufus William Gunther Chase, but people who know me call me Spoon. I was named for both my grandfathers and one grandmother.

    ReplyDelete
  43. YAY! I'm #20

    Amidst the never-ending fires and screams of defiant terror, Abby collapsed to the ground – feet twisting inward, eyes unwilling to stay open, and desperately wishing to pass out. Exhausted from the chase, tired of the hiding.

    ReplyDelete
  44. #97

    Life lines. Most people think of them as options game show contestants use to help themselves win a million dollars or something else just as equally lame.

    ReplyDelete
  45. #52
    If you’re marked for trouble, it will trail you like a homeless dog, looking and acting like love but smelling like the shady bend of the river. It was May my trouble started sniffing around me, a year almost to the day that Mom left us.

    ReplyDelete
  46. #88

    I stared at the smoke drifting up from Erika’s fingertips. Over the past hour, the girl beside me had ignited several small fires with her bare hands.

    ReplyDelete
  47. # 55
    The truck hit Milo. He flew through the air, tucked his chin, and turned two full-twisting somersaults.

    ReplyDelete
  48. #59

    It wasn’t the first time a good idea had come back to bite me in the ass, but I was afraid it might be the last.

    The plan had seemed harmless enough.

    ReplyDelete
  49. #95

    The newspapers all said it was an accident. That there was no reason to suspect any foul play had been involved.

    ReplyDelete
  50. #5

    “You don’t know what it’s like not knowing if you’re like your real mom or dad,” Jasmine said. She knew she shouldn’t have called her birthparents that—her Mom and Dad—the moment it came out of her mouth.

    ReplyDelete
  51. #34
    Riding to school with Max Holden is only slightly less traumatizing than riding the big yellow bus. I remind myself of that fact every morning when I cross the lawn from my front yard into his, headed for his already-running F-150.

    ReplyDelete
  52. #85 Angela Townsend fearsofafisherman@hotmail.com

    Sassy Smit was seven years old the afternoon she found Leroy Jebber dead. His pudgy body floated belly up in the slough, like a white blob of fat in a can of beans.

    #87 Angela Townsend

    Gloomy shadows crept across the tired oak floor, stealing what little light peered in through a set of stained glass windows. A dying fire crackled in the corner, its golden embers fading as quickly as the old man who lay near it.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Well, looks like Natalie's job is only getting tougher!

    #47:

    The bonfire in the middle of the grand plaza of New Tikal sent sparks up to greet the low-hanging stars; the stars Mau B'ah-Pakal hoped were still speaking to him, because no one else was. He had failed his friends, offended the Emperor, and worst of all - he could barely think it - had he really shoved his grandmother?

    ReplyDelete
  54. #91

    “Don’t let them lock you in the closet, Nancy! Fight back!” I picked up my pillow and punched it a few times.

    ReplyDelete
  55. (#100)

    In seventh grade math they taught us that a triangle is the sturdiest shape, stronger than rectangles or pentagons or anything else. And that made sense to me.

    ReplyDelete
  56. #16
    Ann stood in the foyer, pulling off her gloves and then her coat, and considered how little the war had changed things at home. The aromas of roasting turkey and autumn spices seeped from the kitchen, and she could hear Cook's whisk scraping the gravy pan and the clink of china as Jamison laid out the dishes.

    ReplyDelete
  57. #63 If this were a movie, you’d be hearing Elvis music right now, the soundtrack to my life. Mom says she gave birth to me serenaded by his love song, “The Twelfth of Never,” and I -- Presley Ann Marr -- entered the world crying in perfect harmony.

    ReplyDelete
  58. #70

    Whispers of an outsider’s arrival have been flying between the mouths and ears of the Forsaken all day.

    I don't really see any point in discussing it.

    ReplyDelete
  59. #74

    Artificial lights brightened beneath the protective red dome, giving the illusion of morning over the campus of Red Cloak School. Dormitory doors and windows opened, spilling out a chaotic parade of students headed toward the cafeteria in Mammoth Hall.

    ReplyDelete
  60. The challenge began like all the rest, although the dead corpse-look was different. Ana wished she could ignore it, pretend it didn’t exist, but that never worked.

    ReplyDelete
  61. First off, I just want to say I did not invite the aliens to drop into my backyard. At least not on purpose.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I'm #92 but the "C" is missing from my name,lol!

    "Shit, I may as well be dead," my mother cried the day I killed her. It happened in a Denny’s bathroom stall after she threw up her egg whites.

    ReplyDelete
  63. #26

    My hands went numb as the officer gently told me the news. I stopped listening to him asking myself was it true, and echoing over his apologies was a whisper that never failed me sadly replying, "Yes, Sabrina is dead."

    ReplyDelete
  64. I am suffocating inside my plastic lined steel barred cage; dying with the thickening silence and quiet sobbing coming from the other room. Locked inside for more than half of the day, my body twitches for the feel of the brisk air that causes my drool to freeze to my face.

    ReplyDelete
  65. #6

    Mary Kate Stewart secretly hoped that her Calculus teacher would get hit by a taco truck.

    She didn’t want him to actually die, but if the accident caused the kind of amnesia where you forgot one specific thing and that thing just happened to be Friday’s Calculus test, she’d be all for supporting careless lunch truck drivers.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Natalie C. Markey: I'm #24

    Water churned around like a water sprout encasing me in a prison. I was terrified but even though my salty enemy surrounded me, I could still see his dark, coal-like eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  67. #66

    Dragons are actually more curious than cats.

    They proved it now, in the darkest corners of the Dreugan caves where the clan pretended to sleep.

    ReplyDelete
  68. As we near the wire, I just wanted to pop in and say, "Good luck, Everybody!" This is going to be interesting right to the finish.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I am suffocating inside my plastic lined steel barred cage; dying with the thickening silence and quiet sobbing coming from the other room. Locked inside for more than half of the day, my body twitches for the feel of the brisk air that causes my drool to freeze to my face. Big footsteps lumber down the stairs and instinctively I cower as far back inside my cage as possible, lowering my body to the pee-stained blanket in an attempt to make my big frame small while keeping my eyes downcast.

    ReplyDelete

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