Don’t post your first line yet! But get ready. Monday October 15th, I will post a blog at exactly 7:00 p.m. PACIFIC TIME titled GAME ON! When that post is up the first 75 legit first lines will be in the hunt.
The last two times I watched the lines go up and emailed those who screwed up. I will not be doing that this year. Follow the guidelines below and you should be good to go. If you have a question post them to the comment section of this blog post. I will do my best to answer all of them before the contest officially commences Monday evening.
The prize? The five finalists will have the opportunity to send 10 pages of their story beginning with their original first line to St. Martin’s editor Hilary Teeman.
Now, here are a few First line rules
*First of all I will accept only 75 entries. The first 75 first lines that adhere to these rules:
*Rule number one: Each entry must be one line. One line meaning one sentence, statement or dialogue line 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. My advice? 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. This will be strictly enforced. Please don’t make more work for me. Last time it was brought to my attention that there were some changes, and while unintentional, if any this time around are changed the entry will be dropped.
*If you make it 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 finaled, 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 following 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 make their picks. 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 each week, 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. And I’m grumpier this time around.
*I will open the contest 7 p.m. PACIFIC time Monday October 15th.
*Let’s be fair. One entry per person.
*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 7 p.m. PACIFIC time Monday October 15th 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 the 75 legitimate first lines are posted the contest will be closed to new entries. I’ll post a blog announcing the contest is closed. I’ll be monitoring closely. 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 75 spots were filled in less than 30 minutes, I expect it will go sooner this year.
*Again, the five finalists will have the opportunity to send the first 10 pages of their first line story to St. Martin’s editor Hilary Teeman. She will pick the winner and hopefully ask to see fulls, which I hope will result in a sale.
*As with the previous contests, I will have a different anonymous judge (a New York multi-published author) 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? Let’s get them out of the way now.