Thursday, June 27, 2013

First Sentence Round Today!

Here's the scoop:

  • If your sentence is included in today's round, please critique a minimum of 5 other entries.
  • 244 people entered this contest; only 50 were chosen.  If your entry was not chosen, perhaps you can stop by and critique anyway.  Because, yeah.
  • Critique is simple:  YES or NO to determine whether or not the sentence hooked you, followed by a brief explanation of WHY.
  • Please choose a screen name.  (I say this every time, but still there are people who choose "Anonymous".  The Name/URL option in the comment box allows you to type in any name you wish to go by on the blog.  Please take a moment to use this option.)
  • As always, please be honest yet kind!  We're all in this together, so let's offer our best to others so that they can find their best.
  • Have fun!


  1. Can't wait! I didn't get in but I fully intend to critique a fair bit of them if I can. They're only first lines, afterall!

  2. Soooo much pressure is placed on that first wee sentence. Anxious to see all the awesome!

  3. Phew. I read all of them. It's much easier with first lines than first 250 words! Too bad there isn't a way to get the "registering" comment part streamlined so you only have to do it once. It would probably goose critique numbers. I know you can't change it, just sayin'....

  4. When does this round end? What happens in the next round? Is there a next round? Do I need to race to critique these suckers before a deadline or can I finish my coffee first?

    (This is totally awesome, by the way. Welcome back!)

  5. THANK YOU for removing the capatchas from these entries. I can never read the dang things, and critiquing 50 entries would have taken five times as long if you hadn't done so.

  6. Thank you! It is nice that readers need to leave a WHY. It's interesting to read everyone's reasons for feeling one way or another. Christy

  7. Yeah! No secret words to try and decipher.

    As the comment numbers are showing, a single sentence is so easy to critique. I've just done 20 while I had my cup of coffee.

    We should do more of these (and that's not just because I didn't get in!) It gives a great sense of achievement to be able to help so many others with the limited time most of us have available.

  8. For the first time maybe ever, I critiqued every single one of the entries. The brevity really does help, but there's something else I noticed as well. I frequently can't comment as soon as the entries go up. By the time I start, everything I noticed, good and bad, has been mentioned, and I don't feel like I have anything more to add. And if my opinion is more negative than positive, repeating other people's criticisms just feels like piling on. But these yes or no rounds feel more like voting, and every vote counts. I don't have to be original, I just have to vote.

    So thanks for setting this up, and I hope the success of it renews your belief in the value of what you do here.

  9. ^Abbe, I used to feel that way too, but there was a post on the blog last month or so where people and Authoress discussed that repetitive feedback is actually helpful so the writer can ID patterns. When all the feedback is mixed and conflicting, it's really hard to know what to change. If half the comments zero in on a clunky phrase, much easier to fix.

    This was tough sometimes to judge based on ONE line. They are so tough to do because readers expect different things from them. I think taste is a factor; some commenters frequently pointed out that first lines should include who, when, where, why, and I for me, I don't necessarily need all that.

  10. Despite differences in style and genre,it was clear which first lines were the most effective or intriguing or both. I couldn't access more than 5 or 6, maybe because it was past midnight and the deadline was over.

    Your contest led me to trawl the local bookstore today for attention-grabbing first lines. I liked this one from Neil Gaimon's THE GRAVEYARD BOOK: "There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife." A simple, declarative sentence that reveals something chilling, something about setting, and establishes an ironic tone all at once. I liked it so much that I bought the book!

  11. Stephsco, thanks for the feedback. It's good to know I'm not just annoying people with redundant feedback or piling on by repeating the same criticism. I'll try to be more involved in critiquing in the future.