Tuesday, June 8, 2010

22 Line-by-line Novel Opening Contest Sneak Preview

Ready to know more about our contest this week? Here is the basic information:

What you need:
  1. The best possible opening sentence for your completed MG or YA novel.
  2. A compelling opening sequence of five sentences that make the reader itch to keep on reading.
When you need it:
  1. First sentence by Thursday 6/10 at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time, first 50 submissions, or Thursday 6/10 a.m. at noon E.T., another 50 submissions.
  2. If you pass, you'll be invited to submit the second sentence, and so on.
How you'll submit it:
  • Just post your submission in the comments of the post we will put up on Thursday morning. We will put the rules up early and then open comments up as appropriate.
The prizes:
  1. Natalie Fischer of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency will judge and offer a 25-page manuscript critique to the 1st place winner, a 10-page manuscript critique to the 2nd place winner, and books from SDLA authors to places 1-3.
  2. A 5-page critique by P. J. Hoover, author of The Forgotten Worlds Trilogy for the 3rd place winner.
  3. Three-page critiques for finalists by debut authors who have recently fought their way through the submission process and won. Authors include Kirstin Hubbard, Cole Gibsen, Michelle Hodkin, Tahereh Mafi and more....
Okay, enough peeking. The full contest rules will go up at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, the first submission window starts at 8:00 a.m. Now back to our regularly scheduled Tuesday "How-to" program, The Scene Conflict Worksheet--Developing Tension in Your Novel. Scroll down, the worksheet is right below this post.

Get  your openings ready!

Martina & Marissa


  1. Gah! Contests like this are infuriating when you're within sight of "completed", but not quite there yet.

    *glares at manuscript* Why aren't you finished yet???

    Oh well, good luck to those who qualify.

  2. Josin, Are you in revision stage or writing stage? If you are in sight of the end of a revision, I suspect it would be okay to enter. Since there will be five rounds of judging, the final winners won't be posted until July 23rd.

    M & M

  3. So...wip's may be allowable? *crosses fingers* woohoo!

  4. Sounds like such a fab contest. Why, oh why aren't my revisions done yet.
    Good luck to everyone.

  5. It should be query ready by the end of this month/beginning of next, but I'd hate to enter and then not make it. Safer just to wait until all is shiny.


  6. Great contest. Ditto what Josin said (1st comment) -- minus the "completed" part :)... If you'd be willing to postpone a couple of months :).

    Good luck to the entrants.

  7. So very cool. Just retweeted it for you. :)

  8. Josin,

    I applaud your caution and wisdom. This is a great opportunity, but there will be other opportunities, too. It's more important not to waste the agent's time and the time of the authors who will be providing the additional critiques. I have learned this lesson the hard way, believe me. NEVER query or submit anything until you have revised it, polished it, critiqued it, beta tested it, AND let is sit for a good long time. Rinse. Repeat. You don't want to kick yourself the way I have.

    Sugar, see above. If the manuscript is done and you are putting in final, final edits, that's one thing. But if you haven't had it critiqued or beta read and then given a chance for the revisions to stew, please do not enter.

    Thanks, everyone! We're looking forward to your entries.


  9. Can you give us a hint about the submission procedure? Will there be a special form on the site, or by email?

    Thanks for this awesome opportunity, M&M (&N)!

  10. Vicki,

    Great question -- we will put up the rules post and schedule at 6:00 a.m., and open the comments section at 8:00 a.m. for the first 50 submissions. Once we reach 50, we will shut off comments. (Only the first 50 will count if we go over--we both do actually have real jobs, too. :D) We will then reopen comments at noon for another 50 submissions.

    Clear as mud?

  11. This is so fabulous, ladies. I just don't think I'll be ready. Yikes. I thought I would be and then the other day a new opening scene that fits perfectly came out of nowhere. I knew I had to add it. I need to let it sit. Dang. But best of luck to everyone. My time will come.

  12. I met P.J. Hoover after Book Expo! :-) Excited about the contest!

  13. Setting my alarm to wake up on time for this on Thursday morning! OMG I'm nervous already.

  14. Can't wait. :) Can we only enter once?

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  15. I'm waiting this one out and will be cheering from the sidelines...need to get the polishing gear out this summer.

    GOOD LUCK to all those who have got their work in prime condition!

  16. Well, I'm a little nervous to post stuff in a comments section. Any way to calm my fears????

    I've got it on my calendar.

  17. Wait, is this the tag line we're sending or an actual line from the novel? Sorry to be dense.

  18. Oh, I can't wait!

    Me and 300+ other MG/YA writers. :D

  19. JayceeKaycee, good luck! You know what they say about the early bird ;)

    L.J., PJ has been so generous. Whoever gets a crit by her is one lucky person!

    S.A. and Ann Marie, you're such good sports! We'll be sitting on the sidelines... do I dare say with jealousy? :)

    Angela, we ask that you post one opening line for the Eastern Time and hold out for any other entry until the second window. If after an hour (say 1 PM ET), it's not filled up, please post a different novel opening :) We just want to try and give as many people as possible a chance. Thanks for a really good question!

    Julie, you're not dense! Yes, the actual opening line from your novel :) Best of luck!

  20. Stina, we're so excited, too! You've got the same shot as the next writer!

  21. What a wonderful idea! I'm so excited... and nervous :)

  22. Thanks for the contest. I'm not sure I get what happens with lines 2-5 if you post the first one. Sorry.


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