First Line Contest is set to begin Monday January 15th!!!

January 5, 2007 | Karin's Blog | 22 comments

I’m really excited.

Here are a few guidelines and yes, rules. One must have rules.

First of all I will accept 75 entries this time around. Each entry must be one line. One line meaning one sentence, statement or dialogue with dialogue tag. I know last time many of you used semi colons and colons and that’s ok, but remember, in many ways, less is more. Make a quick hard hitting punch then pull back and watch the reader fall for the next line.

Which brings me to rule number two. The line you begin with is the line you stay with, along with each subsequent line. No adding, subtracting or changing words. Last time it was brought to my attention that there were some changes, while unintentional, if they are changed the entry will be dropped and replaced by the culled line with the most votes culled the previous week. If you make it on to the next round and don’t post your subsequent line you will not be notified and you will be dropped. No exceptions. We had an excellent entry last year that most likely would have finalled, but because of an electrical hiccough the person was unable to post her line by the deadline at the end of the week. My suggestion? Post it asap to avoid freaky things like that. The next round will be posted some time each Monday, each entrant has until midnight Friday (of the same week) to post their next line. I will enforce this. My judge needs the weekend at the very least to decide on who makes it. And be sure when you post your subsequent line you also post the lines that got you there.

For the first two rounds 10 lines will be culled, when we hit 55 entries I will go back to 5 a week. If all entrants don’t post, I will only have the judges cull the amount necessary to get to the next multiple of five. Example: if we are at 40 and five are culled making the next round 35 and only 32 of those entrants post, only two will be culled to keep the next round at 30. I will not allow previously culled lines to reenter. It’s too confusing, too much work, and causes too much strife.

I will open the contest at midnight Monday January 15th. To avoid the problems we had last year with entrants posting early and thus being dropped for doing so, I will post a commencement blog at 6:00 p.m. pacific time on the blog, titled Game On, when you see it go for it. Any lines posted before that post will be kicked out, and it will be up to you to pay attention and get back into the hunt. After 75 first lines are posted the contest will be closed to new entries. I’ll be monitoring closely, if I don’t call the first 75 before others have posted after the cut off, don’t hate me. There will be many comments along with the first lines so it can get confusing. But I will make the cut at the correct entry, it just may take me a bit to figure it out. Last year the first 50 spots were filled in less than 12 hours, I expect it will go sooner this year.

The five finalists will have the opportunity to send the first 10 pages of their first line story to Hilary Sares. She will pick the winner and hopefully ask to see fulls, which I hope will result in a sale.

An fyi, while Hilary is acquiring for the Aphrodisia line which is erotic romance, she is also acquiring for the Zebra line and a few others as well. This includes paranormal, historical and romantic suspense. So just about anything goes here ladies, and gents.

As last year I will have a different anonymous judge (a multipublished author and not just romance authors) cull five entries a week, 10 each the first two weeks. I will be keeping better records this year, and let me just say thanks again to my judges. While they thoroughly enjoyed the job, they found it very difficult and asked me on several occasions to be the tie breaker. I passed. I know too many of you, and could not in good conscience do it. So, all I can say, is put your best line forward every week. And good luck!

Have a question? Ask away, let’s get them out of the way now.





  1. Edie Ramer

    Karin, I’m not sure, but I think your midnight is my 2a.m., way past my bedtime. I hope there’s a spot open in the morning. Even if I don’t make it, I’ll watch the others go through. 🙂

  2. Karin

    Ahh, I see, hmm that does present a problema…

  3. Karin

    problem solved, I changed the time to accommodate everyone a bit better.

  4. Michelle Diener

    Sorry, Karin, was the change the 6pm time posted above in your blog, and does it mean 6pm on 14 Jan or 6pm on 15 Jan, or, even more confusingly, did you mean 6am 15 Jan?

    Just want to be clear here :).

  5. LaDonna

    Hey, Karin, I’ll be at the party! It was great fun last time, and I wish everyone good luck from the get-go. After awhile, it gets so intense it’s hypnotic. Way better than a 24 episode! LOL.

  6. Amie

    THis is gonna be a blast! 😀

  7. Karin

    on Monday January 15th 6:00 p.m. Pacific time I will post a blog with the title GAME ON, game will be on for the first 75 first lines.

  8. Edie Ramer

    Got it, Karin! I’ll have my clock set. You’ll probably be overloaded with entries. LOLOL

  9. Michelle Diener

    4am for me. Oh well, I’ll have to take my chances :).

  10. Karin

    Oh, btw, one entry per person!

  11. Natalie J. Damschroder

    Cool, Karin, thank you! I came to your blog the first time right after the contest, and never went back to take a look. I can’t wait to see this year’s entries.

  12. Maryann

    Dumb Question Alert: Oh well there has to be at least one. Karin, how would a person post their line to the contest? Through the “Leave a Reply” form?

  13. Karin

    yep, just like you posted your question. 🙂

  14. Tracey

    As the winner of the inaugeral first line contest I say – YAY. I can’t wait to read the entries – I won’t be joining in this time but I’ll have just as much fun reading the new lines.

    Good luck everyone.

  15. Lisa Chaplin

    Weird, I sent a comment but it didn’t show, I think…I wish I could enter but will be in the mountains with no net access on that exact day and for an exact week! Dang :-(((( All the best to those who can enter, though!


  16. Karin

    Lisa, I’m sorry too.

    Tracey you’d better stick around for the fun!!

  17. Rhonda

    Question – I’m writing YA…think it’d be ok to participate? I had SO much fun last time and made it really far!!!

  18. Karin

    Good question, Rhonda. Currently I don’t believe Kensington has a YA line. That said, the contest might be a great way for you to hone your opening.

  19. Karin

    Hi,Maggie. Go to the archives and click on the June 2006 link, then scroll down to the June 15th entry. Follow the contest from there.

    As far as your second question re dialogue tags what you wrote is two separate sentences.
    Here is my example of what I meant:

    “No!” she screamed. or “Hi, Mary, do you want a drink?” John asked.

  20. Maggie Lynch

    This sounds like a great contest. For those of us who are new to your blog and this contest, can you post (or provide a link) to last year’s winner? Or some finalists? I’d just like to get a sense of what did well as I plan my entry.

  21. Maggie Lynch

    Oops, another question. Your rule, “One line meaning one sentence, statement or dialogue with dialogue tag.” What do you consider a dialogue tag? For example, I consider the following to be a dialogue tag because it let’s the reader know who said the line. However it is two sentences.

    “I can’t believe it.” Susie turned to the window and stared into the dark night, her shoulders shaking with each sob.

  22. Faith V. Smith

    “Are you out of your mind? You can’t kidnap a cover model!”

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