I have a question

October 19, 2007 | Karin's Blog | 39 comments

Okay, so my judge was quick. She also said when she agreed to judge she didn’t think it would be that hard. Wrong! Heh, I always lure them in with that false sense of ease. The fact of the matter is, it’s damn hard to cull lines. Especially when you start adding lines and the story begins to take shape.

Ok, I digress. Here is my question. Well, hold on, first let me say, originally I was gonna have my judge cull nineteen lines. But, well, I’m into torture and know y’all are too, so I thought, screw nineteen, let’s go with nine this time around. Ten next week, then we’ll get down to the weekly five. So, I have the lines here that are being culled this week, and I will not post them but will post the 65 that made it to the second round on Monday. But my question is, is anyone interested in me doing a critique of the culled lines? Not a Simon Colwell critique but an honest why this didn’t work for me, and maybe if you changed this word or dropped that one you’d have a great first line kind of crit?

Think about it, and thoughts are welcome.



  1. AJ

    Karin, that’s a wonderful idea – thank you, and thanks for running the comp.

  2. Carmen

    Yes please. It would be really appreciated.
    And thank you.

  3. B.E. Sanderson

    I think feedback on the culled lines would be a wonderful thing to have. If you have the time and the inclination, that is. I know this whole contest has got to be a huge drain on your time.

    If I haven’t said it before… Thanks for doing this, Karin. I really appreciate it.

  4. Bernita

    You offer us gold and wonder if we’ll take it?
    Of course.
    ~on knees, begging~

  5. Mary

    I think that is a fabulous idea. For the newbie/wanta be writers it would be a big help.

    Your the best.

  6. Rhonda

    That’s a great idea!!

  7. Margaret

    What a wonderful and generous offer–are you freakin’ crazy? Woman, don’t you already have enough on your plate?! Okay, rant finished. Yes, that would be fantastic.
    Thank you. 🙂

  8. Jennifer Faye

    Your generous offer would be greatly welcomed. It’d be like a consolation prize.

  9. Donna Kowalczyk

    Karin, I didn’t enter this time, but I think it would be incredibly generous of you to offer a few words on why a particular line didn’t work/make the cut. 🙂

    This is such an amazing contest!!

  10. Wendi Christner

    Thanks, Karin. You’re too kind. 😀 I would love to know your take on what works and doesn’t.

  11. Stacey

    Karin, I’m a finalist from the last contest (full entry at HQ right now) and even though I didn’t enter this time, I’m loving watching from the sidelines this time.

    I think we’d all benefit from your comments and suggestions and think its a great offer.

  12. Karin

    Stacey, how exciting!!! When you sell it you must let us all know.

    Ok, the reason I asked about the public crit is well, while I would be frank, some people get upset. And while there are plenty of people I don’t mind upsetting, none of those people hang out here.

    oh and hop on over to http://www.murdershewrites.com it’s my day.

  13. Cindy

    I think it’s a very generous offer. I would love a critique of my line if I don’t make the cut. And I promise I won’t get upset 🙂

  14. Cele

    Wow, Karin you rock.

    As a critiquer I would love to see your insights. I love watching this contest, it has helped me grow in my job. The lines are always wonderful. I remember one specific one from last contest that totally sucked me in I wanted to know what happened, I think it was LaDonna but I can’t remember who wrote it…so when the Ruby story is out in print would some one please let me know, because I soooooooo know it has a future ahead.

  15. Carol

    That’s a great offer, Karin.

    I wouldn’t get upset at all – I appreciate any help I can get! Isn’t that how we learn?

    Thank you so much for taking the time to put this contest together!

  16. Carol

    Oh, I forgot to mention that there’s a similar contest going on that does this. It’s the Chase the Dream Contest and it’s put together by Leah Michaels and Rachelle Chase.

    Every week until sometime in November (can’t remember the cut off date) they pick a finalist and that finalist will advance to the final round which will be judged by editor’s and agents.

    They also pick a weekly non-finalist entry and give a mini-critique. Every Tuesday both winning entries are posted on the site and readers are encouraged to comment.

    I’ve entered every week since the contest started in September (if you don’t final you can re-submit).

    Here are the rules (which explains it better)and a link to the site if you’re interested:


    From September 1, 2007 to November 12, 2007, submit the first 1,000 words or less of an unpublished romance, chick lit, or mainstream fiction with romantic elements novel/novella. Each Tuesday, from September 18, 2007 to November 20, 2007, Rachelle Chase will select a finalist from that week’s entries and post the entry on the Finalists page. Visitors are invited to post comments.

    Additionally, each Tuesday from September 18, 2007 to November 20, 2007, Leigh Michaels will select one of the non-winning entries for a mini-critique, which will be posted on the Mini-Critique Winners page. Visitors are encouraged to join the discussion of the critique and learn from each other.

    After all the finalist entries have been posted, readers will vote from November 21, 2007 to November 30, 2007 for the top three winners. Names of the winners will be posted on December 12, 2007. In addition to winning prizes, each finalist’s submission will be reviewed by the agents/editors belonging to the contest Panel of Experts.

  17. J. Carson Black

    Karin, somebody has to take up the slack for Miss Snark! I think it’s a wonderful idea. The goal is for everyone – published and unpublished alike – to sharpen their skills and learn how to put their best foot forward. (And not write cliches…oops!)

  18. Holly Dennler

    That would be wonderful for all of us.

    The writing group I just joined isn’t quite as bad as Simon, but last week I came home in tears, throw my papers in the trash and that’s it. Luckily, I’m married to a smart man. He told me to get that out of the trash. He said that would teach our kids that it was ok to quit. He was right, of course. It’s a good thing he isn’t the kind to hold it over my head.

    Thanks again, Karin, for doing all of this. As the kids would say YOU ROCK!

  19. Karin

    Cele, that was LaDonna’s story. Good good stuff.

    Holly, there is constructive critting and there is mean critting. If you were in tears because you wrote your opus and someone told you it needed work in a positive way and explained why, then go ahead and get the tears out if the way now, but if there was mean spirited play going on, move on to another group. Nothing will tear down a budding writer quicker then a bad crit group. Thick skinned or not.

  20. Hubby

    While a great and generous idea with so much on your plate, I must ask, “Are you nuts?”

  21. Karin

    Hey, Hubby, go blow your whistle!

  22. Hubby

    That’s where I pucker my lip’s and just blow, right?

  23. Taylor

    I followed the contest last year as well and also loved the Ruby story.

    I’m cool with a critique. It’s part of the whole writing game isn’t it?

    Karin, you amaze me, already such a busy woman and still doing this.

  24. LaDonna

    Hey, Karin a very gracious offer on your part! I know I’d love a crit like that. Also, thanks for your kind words on Ruby too. Cele and Taylor, Miss Ruby will have her day. I’ll keep you updated on any future news at my site, and here at Karin’s. And I can’t tell you how thrilled I am y’all love her too. Ruby wants a trilogy, and I think I’ll give it to her. 🙂

  25. Donna Kowalczyk

    I’m sorry some people get upset over their line being culled, and very glad it hasn’t deterred you from doing the contest again. It’s one of the best out there! And I’m not just saying that because I won…LOL But seriously, when you have so many fantastic first lines, it just boils down to a matter of taste. Honestly, there were several I thought were much better than mine, and was shocked as I watched my favorites get culled…

  26. Jordanne

    Count me in! Anything I can learn to hone my craft is welcome. Tears or not. And I absolutely appreciate your doing this. It’s and you are most wonderful and helpeful.

    Now the wait until Monday, tick tock.


  27. Brenda

    Hmm, who would want an honest opinion of their work from someone who has busted her buns to learn the craft inside and out and she makes a living from that knowledge. Hmm, who? who? ME, that’s who. Thanks for all you do for the writing community in general.

  28. Pet

    Very generous offer, Karin. We’re entering because we all want to write the best first line possible and would love to know what’s wrong or right.

    Thanks and I’ll be reading every line!

  29. Michelle

    Karin, do you mean the judge giving reasons why they cut the lines they did? I’d love that! In the past, I’ve scratched my head over some of the lines that have been cut. And I have to admit, if I’d been judging, they’d have stayed in. Even if the reason is just that subjectively they don’t like a specific type of hero or heroine, or a specific scene setting, if would make things around here even more interesting.

  30. Calliope

    Karin, that’s so wonderfully generous. When every word I write is agonized over with dozens of should I do it this way or that, what ifs and maybes to know whether I made the right choice (or wrong one) would be wonderful. I too would hate to be doing the culling, every first line seems to have the potential for an amazing story to follow but there were a few that IF they had been mine I’d have done it slightly differently. It would be incredibly educational to find out if I’m right or why I’m wrong – and how I stuffed up if/when (think positive) I get eliminated.

    I missed the cut last year but followed the comp closely and often wondered at the reasoning behind culling one and not another – other than it was so hard to choose it came down to sticking a pin in somewhere which is what I’d havebeen reduced to.

    Thanks again for doing this.

  31. Andrea

    Karin, that’s so generous! In addition to running the comp as well! Sometimes it’s such a mystery why lines don’t work as well as they should, and to see the thought process at work would be soooo enlightening.

    Thanks so much for a great contest!

  32. Marcia

    As if you’re not sweet enough. 🙂 I’ve got no objections. Knock your heart out, girlfriend.

  33. Karin

    Not the judges comments, Michelle, but mine on why I think it was cut and how I would rework it. I would post it as a blog.
    and FYI, I wouldn’t do this every week, just this week and next week.

  34. Liz L.

    I, for one, would love a critique. In the elegant words of Margaret and Hubby, are you nuts???

    You really do a great service to your pre-pubbed fans. Thanks.

    Liz L.

  35. J. Carson Black

    One thing’s for sure, Karin. You’re not afraid of hard work!

  36. Donna


    I’d love to see why the lines get cut, whether it’s mine or someone elses. I second all the other’s comments. You’re a very giving woman and you’re crazy. Thank you, the world needs more crazy people like you.

  37. kara

    I echo everyone else! (and hubby too – you’re going to cull the time from which part of your crazy schedule? LOL!) A critique would be wonderful. I think sometimes we’re left scratching our heads when our favorites are cut. Another great learning opportunity! Thanks!

  38. Tracey

    The idea of a critique is great – I think it would be fabulous to know where to strengthen our lines and an honest critique is the best.

    But please don’t leave yourself short. I know how much work it takes for you to run this fabulously fun and entertaining contest.

  39. Tina C

    I love the idea of someone helping the entry along if it gets culled….thank you for putting so much work into other peoples work and helping us along. It is inspirational. T.

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