Thursday, July 1, 2010

13 Critique Clinic: Line-by-line Contest Round Two

We are a little delayed posting contest results today, but please check back this afternoon for the top 50 winners who will make it through to Round Three. But in the meantime, an announcement.

Since the Round 1 Critique Clinic has been so successful, our fabulous panel of authors has agreed to continue critiquing the entries that do not proceed into Round Two. If you didn't make the top 50 and you're interested in participating, come back and add your first five lines in the comments of this post by Monday, July 5 at 6:00 p.m. We will put them up on Tuesday the 6th for input from our panel of authors and other writers interested in helping you make your opening more compelling.

We'll be posting bios for all the participating authors on Tuesday, but you can see them in action in the Round One Critique Clinic that's been going on this week.

Don't miss this opportunity! There is an amazing amount of talent available to help you hone your opening, whether you are in the contest or simply a writer interested in learning what it takes to create a compelling, saleable first five lines.

Happy editing,

Martina & Marissa


  1. This is the best contest. Ever. It's great that the ones who really need the feeback are the ones who're going to get it. :D

  2. Okie dokie! I'll check back later today.

  3. I didn't enter (June is INSANE!), but I've been enjoying reading the entries and crits! Very helpful stuff.

    One question - is it okay if we (regular old readers who didn't enter) comment on the entries too? I wasn't sure, so I've just read so far.

  4. I don't see why not, Jemi. All comments are useful, but I'm not running this show:)

  5. I guess this is where we post the Round 2 no-pass entries. The critique clinic is helpful! so here's my entry, #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. Life force at 70%, need nourishment soon, supplies low.


    Dark Troy flinched and looked up into the beady eyes of the Dragon Taskmaster, whose frown pinned him to his seat like a wingless gareeda fly.

  6. Absolutely, Jemi -- and everyone else. Please do comment on the entries once we put them up as individual posts on Tuesday. In the meantime, please feel free to add your comments on the Round One critiques that have been going up this week.

    Martina & Marissa

  7. You are so generous to allow us to post these for critiques. Thanks!

    Okay, people, tear into it.

    Entry # 65

    Jynx first found out about her father’s secret life by accident. It was while she was eating a bowl of crunchy nuts and raisins cereal and reading the missing children alert on the side of the milk carton that she realized how much she missed her dad. He was gone on another business trip (how many business trips did an anthropology professor need to take anyhow?) and he hadn’t returned her calls in three days. An uneasy feeling turned the sweet milk sour in her mouth.

    “Grammy, when did Dad say he’d be back?” Jynx asked her grandmother, who was spreading lemon curd on fresh, hot scones at the kitchen counter.

  8. Thank you guys for this contest and all of the added help!

    Mine was #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. When you're about to be face-to-face with him, why generate theories behind cupped hands?

    Of course I’m the first one assigned to serve the outsider in his cell. It just adds to the joke that is my life.

  9. Thanks so much for the chance to get some feedback! I've edited the second line slightly in reaction to being dropped; I hope that's OK...


    If this were a movie, you’d be hearing an Elvis tune right now, the soundtrack to my life. Mom says she gave birth to me serenaded by his love song, “The Twelfth of Never,” and when I entered the world crying in perfect harmony she named me Presley.
    I try to enjoy The King’s music as any self-respecting eighth-grade girl would -- secretly -- but Mom is Elvis crazy, as in she bought a potato chip on eBay for its likeness to his facial profile. If you squint, one burnt edge resembles his hair and those thick sideburns from the 1970s, when he was heavy and wore the sparkly one-piece outfits.
    She had the potato chip shellacked, and she keeps it on a tiny foam pad in a clear plastic display box on her desk at work -- which also happens to be at my school.

  10. I'm back with my second entry!


    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.

    Sure, it was freakishly entertaining, but open flames were the last thing needed by forty sweaty, super-powered teenagers crammed into a school bus without air conditioning on a sticky July day.

    Besides, it wasn’t like she was special. Our destination was Camp Awakening.

  11. Thanks very much for the opportunity for feedback! I was entry #7, and here are my first five sentences:

    I am told it is wonderful to be beautiful. That there is nothing better in the world than a pretty face. But I disagree. People are blinded by beauty. When they look at me, it is all they see.

  12. This is a wonderful opportunity. Thanks very much! Mine was #52, an older middle-grade novel:

    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. That would be on the morning I saw the sign, folded lengthwise, on top of the bureau in the Frost guest cottage:

    Fragile--Do Not Disturb!

    Then my eyeballs rolled behind the sign, where lined up like a circus act sat six thumb-sized sculptures, all molded or carved from what looked like wood or bone or rock, or maybe ivory.

  13. I might be too late for this...but what the heck. Here are my first five lines:

    This day is going to suck.
    Across the street, a military car parks in front of MJ’s house. Army officers step out of the car, adjust their uniforms, and straighten their caps.
    Another soldier has died, and I hope these guys have the wrong address.
    They follow the path leading to MJ’s front door.


Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)