First Line Contest Update!

November 30, 2008 | Karin's Blog | 34 comments

But a few other updates first:  MASTER OF TORMENT and HAVE YOURSELF A NAUGHTY LITTLE SANTA are still at bookstores everywhere.  Didn’t read the reviews? Scroll down to Save an Author Buy a Book and take a gander!  Then go buy!  J  Buffie, one of our regulars here at The Write Life and who also happens to review for just posted a review of TORMENT, go on over and check out the site, lot’s of really good stuff.  This is a place you’ll want to add to daily blog tour!

Okay so here are some things to consider with regard to the First Line Contest, which will commence next Monday:

Do not post your first line yet! This is just a brush up on the do’s and don’ts. However, get ready. Monday December 8th, I will post a blog at exactly 7:00 p.m. PACIFIC TIME titled GAME ON! When that post is up the first 100 legit first lines will be in the hunt.

The last few 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/s, 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 Senior Grand Central Editor, Amy Pierpont.

Now, here are a few First Line rules

*First of all I will accept only 100 entries. The first 100 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 contest it was brought to my attention that there were some changes, and while unintentional, if any lines this time around are changed the entry will be dropped. I will not notify you, it just won’t show up the following week.

*Numero three: If you make it to the next round and don’t post your subsequent line in time 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.

*Four: 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.

*Five: For the first two rounds, 20 lines will be culled each week, when we hit 60 entries, I will go back to 5 a week. If not all entrants post, I will only have the judge 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.

*Six: I will open the contest 7 p.m. PACIFIC time Monday December 8th.

*Let’s be fair. One entry per person.  Last year there were two folks who used two different email addy’s for two different lines, even after the rules clearly stated one line per person, and it really pissed me off.  I don’t like cheaters and this time around they will be dropped, period.

*Seven: 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 December 8th titled Game On, when you see it, go for it. Any lines posted before that post will be automatically dropped, and it will be up to you to pay attention and get back into the hunt. After the first 100 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 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 Grand Central Senior Editor Amy Pierpont. 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, 20 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.

K* who is really excited!


  1. Edie

    Karin, how fabulous to get Amy Pierpont as a final judge. I’m betting the 100 spots will fill up fast!

  2. Jeanne Barrack

    I am a total newbie to this contest.
    >Do you want the first line to a completed ms of a wip?
    >If we make the cut, then we continue with the next line and so on?
    >Do we post here?
    >Could you give an example of the postings?
    Sorry for the dumb questions, but this contest is totally new to me

  3. Karin

    Hi, Jeanne and welcome!

    my suggestion is the first line be the first line of something that if you final can go to the editor and should she ask for more you have it!

    yes, if you make the first cut the next week when i post the lines that made it. in the comment section of that blog you write your original first line then the second line. if you make it to the next round the first two lines then the third and so on.

    you will post your lines in the comment section of the appropriate blog post. last year we had several entrants post in the wrong blog, i did let them know but there were a few who didn’t pay close enough attention and ended up being dropped because of it.

    if you go to the archives back to Oct 2007 and look for the Oct 15th post it’s the one that launched last years contest, follow the subsequent weeks and read the comments and you’ll get a feel for the contest. it’s very easy and once you get the hang of it it’s a ton of fun!

    and there are no dumb questions! i’m glad you asked, the answers will clarify for others.

    Good luck!

  4. Karin

    Brandy, i think it’s more fun to watch! too nerve wracking if you’re in the contest! and you are welcome to comment as the contest progresses, there is a lot of sideline cheering going on! it’s really a blast!

  5. HollyD

    Can we use a wip that we used in a previous first line contest?

    Thanks again for doing this. Giving us this opportunity is incredible.

  6. LaDonna

    Love this contest! Can’t wait to cheer the gals on this year! And you got a great final judge too, Karin. 😎

  7. Karin

    Holly, baby! you can use whatever first line you would like! 🙂

  8. B.E. Sanderson

    Yay! I’m excited, too. Now I have to figure out which book I’m going in with this year. And I thought this was going to be a slow week. LOL

    And thanks for doing another contest, Karin. I know it takes a lot of work for you, and I appreciate it. It’s a ton of fun, and I have my fingers crossed that I make it farther this year. =o)

  9. Jeanne Barrack

    Thanks for answering my questions, Karin.
    I have one more.
    Can the entry be a work that was published but is no longer available?

  10. Sarah

    This sounds amazing! Thanks so much for all your time and effort!
    Fingers crossed I can sneak an entry in before it fills up! 🙂

  11. Buffie

    Wow, Karin, sounds like some contest! I’m nervous for everyone who is entering. Glad I’m not in that field 🙂

    And thanks for plug of the review!

  12. Marcia

    I know you posted this somewhere before on your blog, but what does Amy represent? Thanks a bunch! 🙂

  13. Karin Tabke

    Beth I wish you heaps of luck this time around!

    Jeanne, good question and one I have never been asked. I’ve given it a lot of consideration and while the contest is open to everyone regardless of pubbed or unpubbed status, I’ll have to say no to something that has been published. I’d like the playing field to be as even as possible, and it doesn’t seem fair to me to the others to use published material.

    Sarah have your finger ready and set on the send key!

    Buffie, it’s a great contest! Lot’s of fun to watch play out. and thanx again *for* the review!

    Marcia, Amy reps pretty much all romance and women’s fiction.

  14. Cindy

    What is Central time when it’s 7pm Pacific time?

  15. Karin Tabke

    I think 2 hours behind you? i know eastern is 3 hours. the time stamp on the blog is eastern time. hmm, i need to get that changed.

  16. Karin Tabke

    I think we’re 2 hours behind you? i know eastern is 3 hours. the time stamp on the blog is eastern time. hmm, i need to get that changed.

  17. Karin Tabke

    thnx, Sandie!

  18. Cele

    Karin, sweetie, I love this contest. Have you considered a people’s choice on this … just as an aside?

    I always look forward to reading the entries.

  19. Tamara

    Sounds like fun! Good luck to all the entrants!

  20. Vanessa

    I write category romance but Amy is with Grand Central, which does not publish category. So is it even worth my while to try to enter your contest?


  21. Karin Tabke

    Cele! Great idea! Hmm, maybe I’ll do a poll to pick the five finalists!

    Tamara, its a blast!

    Vanessa, I can’t tell you what to do, but I can say it’s a huge learning experience!

  22. Jennifer McKenzie

    WOOO HOOO!!!! What an awesome contest, Karin!!!! I’ll be checking this one out I think!

  23. Fae

    Are M/M entries allowed? This sounds like a lot of fun and I’d love to enter!

  24. Karin

    Jen, definitely check it out!

    Fae, I’m all about being inclusive. 🙂

  25. Fae

    Wonderful, Karin, thank you! *marks calendar*

  26. Lainey Bancroft

    Awe, maaaaan! I wanna play but I already have a time zone headache.

    Guess I’ve got a couple days to get it straight and hopefully get to the party on time!

    Thanks for the great opportunity, Karin!

  27. Nina Pierce

    Karin I lurve this contest. I know it’s a ton of work for you and the judges, but soooo much fun to watch. Thanks for doing it again.

  28. Sage Burnett

    This sounds like a great contest. Sort of like speed dating.

  29. Judi Phillips

    I’d really love to participate in this. How to I get the Game On announcement?

  30. Karin Tabke

    Lainey take a couple of asprin for that headache and get with it!

    Nina and Sage, it’s a blast!

    keep checking back Judi but except it go up at 7 p.m pacific time Monday.

  31. Robyn

    I’ve not heard of this till now but I’ll be getting something together. Can’t wait!

  32. Karin

    about 14 lines if you make it to the final round

  33. Cecilia LeBaron

    This contest sounds like a lot of fun. How many weeks does the contest go on? If we submit one sentence a week, I’d like to get an idea of how many lines I will be able to submit. Thanks!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • 2013 (2)
  • 2012 (7)
  • 2011 (10)
  • 2010 (41)
  • 2009 (156)
  • 2008 (165)
  • 2007 (160)
  • 2006 (149)
  • 2005 (26)