Monday, March 30, 2009

HOORAY For De-Lurking Writers...and Tomorrow's Funnity

Like fresh chicks cracking through the shell, a gaggle of readers has come forth to shout "hello."

(Dorky spring metaphor? Perhaps. But give me a break; it's delightfully sunny today with that whiff of spring in the air. Makes me go all pastel gooey.)

I'm seriously delighted to meet so many of you who have been silently reading. It's always an encouragement, too, to read, over and and over again, how this blog has positively impacted your writing--craft and attitude alike.

A huge HELLO to all of you!

And, culled from the comment boxes, another ABNA Quarterfinalist! Click HERE to read GoldensRule's entry and leave your feedback. Thanks, GoldensRule, for letting us know!

Having thus used up my quota of exclamation points for the day, I'll tone it down a bit while I tell you that we're going to have another in-house critique session, opening tomorrow for submissions. And yes, I'll be limiting this to 50 submissions, for everyone's sanity.

Don't worry, though--it's a easy one to get through. We're going to have another First Sentence round, since our last one was several months back, before the surge in readership. The call for submissions will be posted at 9:00 am EDT (1:00 pm London). And the format is easy:


This is the first sentence of my fabulous novel.

Now, of COURSE this isn't enough of an excerpt to garner thought-provoking critique. Of COURSE you're not going to be able to convey a heck of a lot about your story.

That's not the point of this. First of all, this is a bit of lighthearted fun. And second of all, it's an interesting way to see how many first sentences really do "stand out."

Take the first sentence from Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (this year's Newbery Award winner, for those of you who have been living in the cellar):

There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

Honestly, the above sentence is all it took to literally drag me into reading more. It's not a particularly creative or stand-out-ish sentence in the grand scheme of things. But there's something about the simplicity of the language and the hugeness of what the sentence implies.



I want to know who's in danger. And if anybody's died. Or will die.

See what I mean? A first sentence can really make a difference.

So, have fun with this. And please don't email your entry until submissions open at 9:00 am EDT.

A reminder to those of you relying on your email notifications: The email for this blog is only sent out once a day. It will include all posts made to the blog prior to the delivery time (which occurs between 11 am and 1 pm EDT). You will have to watch your own clock or click on the blog live to be sure you hit the submission window. The email will arrive two to four hours after submissions have opened.

Just a word to the wise.

And now I think I'll go enjoy this ever-so-early-springlike day. Tra la!


  1. Fun!

    I love all the contests you run. It's just fantastic to put my stuff out there during the long submissions process.

  2. Exciting stuff! I look forward to all those first sentences. :)

  3. Spring-like day? Ugh. I know where you DON'T live. I had 6 inches of snow to scrape off my car this morning.

    And I just downloaded that ABNA excerpt! Thanks for letting us know about it!

    And a first sentence? I think I've entered all mine...maybe I'll just write a fake one...can I write a fake one?


  4. Naww... Thats 11pm Australian time. I wont be able to enter :(

    Authoress can you make one for the other countries - you could make the entry time something like 1am USA time, so other timezones can enter.

  5. I'm with ElanaJ with the 6 inches of snow . . . at least. And there's more on the way. The robins are getting a tad bit annoyed, wondering who texted them that spring had come to stay.

    Only the newbies haven't seen my first sentence yet and it's hardly anything profound. Just a sentence of dialogue from a boy crazy teen. I could only imagine the comments I'd get. :0) Oh well!