Monday, April 19, 2010

First Lines: A contest!

by Jim

The biggest news in publishing this week is that the London Book Fair is barely happening because of cursed Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull which, thanks to the NY Times, I can now pronounce!

But really, I can only say so much about that, so instead, let’s have a contest!

You’ve all surely heard that agents make decisions really fast, and if we aren’t entranced by your writing within 6.2 seconds or somesuch, we’ll just move on to the next thing. This is, for the most part, entirely true. So let’s see how quickly you can win us (and your fellow blog readers) over. Post the first line of your manuscript in the comments below by the end of the day on Thursday, 4/22. I’ll narrow it down to a select group of finalists, and then we’ll have a poll for you to judge who had the best, most intriguing first line.

The winner gets to have their full manuscript considered by yours truly. You don’t even have to query!

Bring it on! And in the meantime, enjoy this hysterical NPR link about mishaps that has nothing to do with anything.

263 comments:

  1. Here's my line: "They come." Fun idea!

    P.S. Both of those links rock.

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  2. Augh! My favorite opening line of my stuff so far is from something I've already sold, but what the hey, let's try another one. From my urban fantasy Queen of Souls:

    The next time Hermes brought her back from the Underworld, Persephone wept tears of rage.

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  3. Kewl. That is quite a prize :-)

    First sentence:
    The screams were loud.

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  4. I LOVE these kinds of contests. Can we post for fun and not be considered?

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  5. Great idea! Can someone title a book Eyjafjallajokull? I'd love to see that in really big glossy print on the cover of a book. It can't be about the volcano either.

    "The monks don't hold ceremonies and Jethro's death was no different."

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  6. As Melissa said, that's quite a prize!

    First line:
    Jimi Hendrix had a lot of explaining to do.

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  7. Love this idea!

    "He knew this was a mistake, a stupid one at that."

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  8. Ooh ooh, a contest! And a sweet prize! I'm all over it!

    From my mannerpunk fantasy (still undecided on the title, but the ms is completed):

    "After Lyanne gathered the sacred branches, she barricaded herself in the library with her sister's corpse."

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  9. Thank you for the contest!

    FRIENDS WITH DEATH - YA Urban Fantasy

    "Mary Kate Stewart secretly hoped that her Calculus teacher would get hit by a taco truck."

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  10. No better prize than an Agent's time.

    As I approached the beach, not even the violent waves could mask their screams of death, driven by nothing but raw fear.

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  11. Great contest!

    First line of Eternal Knight:

    Hadde crouched behind the rotting trunk of a fallen tree.

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  12. Oh fun! Here's the 1st line from one of my YA urban fantasy mss:

    "Darkness was deceptive - under the blanket of night, it was almost easy to pretend that no one knew she was there, that she was safe."

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  13. "Entering the Junior Handlers Dog Show should be fun, may be embarrassing, but Kitty Walker had no idea it would be dangerous, Kitty had bigger worries."

    Congratulations on pronouncing the volcano name - I'd need a few more vowels before I even attempt it.

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  14. Thanks for this opportunity

    A fierce pounding on the door to my room set a tsunami-like jolt of pain rushing through my brain.

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  15. Love the NY Times link, although I'm not sure I'd dare try to pronounce it. We just call it "that bloody volcano" here in the UK, anyway.

    Awesome contest idea, and great entries so far! I think it would be pointless/unfair of me to enter, as you're already considering my manuscript. Not to mention my first lines suck. Always.

    But, just for fun, here's a first line I'd LIKE to start a novel with:

    "I sat down to tea with Death, Desire and Rage."

    One day.

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  16. "This time, Alysseren caught a glimpse of the Inner Sanctum before the reverend caught her."

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  17. Lots of awesome first lines posted - many books I'd be interested in reading based on them! Anyway, here is mine, from my YA fantasy The Oracle of Delphi, Kansas:

    My mother has been in mental institutions most of my life.

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  18. First line, lit fic:

    "I've finally figured out my problem: All these years I've wanted - expected - a full moon, every single night."

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  19. Here goes nothing:

    "I killed my father with a birthday wish."

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  20. Does this apply to fiction only?

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  21. Here goes!

    "He was given the ability to control life and death."

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  22. What a fun idea! Here's mine (literary fiction): The summer that Philip Johnston was transformed by the eclipse, wildfires dotted the southern California landscape.

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  23. Yippee, a contest! I love contests.*G*

    "When I was a kid, I found a human skull. But that wasn’t the bad part."

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  24. Here's mine; to be overly-analytical it's the first line of my MS but technically two sentences. Will you allow it?

    "Sixteen years ago I left Balmer, Alabama as a black boy. I return today as a white man."

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  25. "No one would ever say sensitivity is my forte."

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  26. Here goes nothin':
    "Perhaps it was the lack of caffeine talking, but they were almost positive the sun was closer than normal."

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  27. From my historical horror novel:

    "The Jack Ketch," I said from the horse, "where they bringing the bodies?"

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  28. My first line isn't all the exciting but here goes...

    The Memoirs of the Big Bad Wolf (the title is just a working one)

    "The night air was crisp and clean, cool upon her skin."

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  29. Well, since I already have an agent, I won't be participating, but it will be a lot of fun to read all the entries. Can we still vote if we don't enter ourselves?

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  30. Fun contest! Here goes:

    "The purple crystal on the table only made my palms sting at first."

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  31. The opening line of the prologue or first chapter? I'll give both to cover my arse:

    Prologue: "Envision a place immersed with magic, a place unseen to mortal eyes on an isle set off on its own."

    Chapter 1: "Something was wrong."

    -Witch Way To You
    a historical fantasy romance
    by Lindsey Edwards

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  32. "The line of sleepy Sunday morning coffee worshipers shuffles forward."

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  33. Well, I'm constantly changing mine. Here's the current opening line:

    "Everyone has something they'd like to change about their life."

    Thanks for the opportunity.

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  34. A large part of me wanted to walk right over to Tomas Murphy and beat him senseless with the bill of my feathery duck hat.

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  35. Sounds like a fun contest!

    "I was the girl everyone had forgotten, but that didn't mean I had to stay wherever they decided to dump me."

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  36. Great contest! Here it is:

    First, there was an echo in the void, and a voice called from the dark.

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  37. As my manuscript is not finished yet (46k words, first draft), I would assume that I don't qualify for the contest, but I want to post my opening line anyway!

    She knew that when you died, your soul was supposed to travel through the underworld to have your heart weighed by the god Maát before being allowed to cross into paradise, but instead she was trapped, looking up through the top of her sarcophagus at his face.

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  38. Darkly Humorous Urban Fantasy

    "Perhaps the hissing should have tipped me off, but honestly, life so far hadn’t prepared me for feral desk accessories."

    Thank you.

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  39. "A lot of people still think I'm a terrible person because I didn't call the police right away."

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  40. Fun, thanks! Here's mine:

    I actually met Mac at the supermarket, so there goes any justification for disdain at my mother picking up men there.

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  41. Why not?

    "Running, running, around the corner, down the hall, across the landing, and he was gone."

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  42. Ooh, count me in!

    "If I were physically capable of suffering a headache, I would be in the midst of a migraine right now."

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  43. When he was an infant I described my son as “the blurpiest baby you have ever seen”.

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  44. Thanks for doing this!

    First Line: Isobel vowed she would not cry, not in front of the men her father charged with her protection.

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  45. "I stared at the smoke drifting up from the ends of the girl’s fingers."

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  46. Fun contest. Here is my first line: "Nesy shifted in the booth, careful to remain hidden in the shadows."

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  47. Wahoo! This is so cool. Thank you. Mine is YA. It's real short though.

    First line: Water surrounds me.

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  48. First line:

    The truth about high school exists under the bleachers.

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  49. "It happens to most people."

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  50. First line:
    Terror gripped Jaya's chest as she gasped awake.

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  51. This is a great contest. Thank you.

    Here's my first line:

    Moments like these were rare, not to mention brief.

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  52. "In the many millennia Gabe had spent watching over his mortal charges, not once had he ever thought of breaking the rules."

    Hi Jim! Miss you guys! Hope all is well :)

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  53. "I saw her do it before she did."

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  54. Cool contest!

    First line from my adult novel:

    I don't know why I assumed that, even on my birthday, there wouldn't be someone out to kill me.

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  55. First line from YA novel:
    I found the gun by accident.

    Fun contest!!!

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  56. Here's one of mine from a YA ms:

    "Homo sapiens sluttiwhen drunkus. The subspecies to which I apparently belong."

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  57. Great contest. Great opportunity. Here's my 2 cents':

    "They had conducted rescue missions in seedier areas, but Ellie couldn't place any of them at the moment."

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  58. What a great contest. And so many awesome entries already.

    Ellyssa, a.k.a. Subject 62, ran through the dark alley after escaping from her long-term captors who she’d thought of as family for eighteen years.

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  59. "I knew I was in trouble when I saw her walk into the Gay and Lesbian Center."

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  60. Alright here it is:

    A piece of paper, that's what started and ended this whole mess

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  61. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  62. Oo, I'd like to play. Young adult:

    "Salt. He tasted like salt."

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  63. "Alex stared at his misshapen shadow."

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  64. **Sorry about that. I forgot to note genre so I deleted the above comment.**

    Well, I never would have guessed that's how it's pronounced!

    Thanks for the contest opportunity, Jim. 6.2 seconds, well that is reassuring. Lot of great first lines here! I'll give it a go. This comes from my YA Historical/Paranormal fantasy, FATED.

    "Noises where there should’ve been silence."

    Thanks again!
    ljb@ljboldyrev.com

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  65. For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard whispers in the shadows.

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  66. Death was mercy and for the moment, preferable to sitting in the driver's seat of Pete's 1967 Mustang.

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  67. How many can we post? lol

    I chewed my lip and stared down at the mahogany casket with dry eyes.

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  68. “Tell me again what we’re doing in the cemetery at midnight?” I asked, tossing a lock of hair over my shoulder.

    I gotta admit I love this one. ;-)

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  69. I walked into math class and scoped out the sub; easy prey.

    from REVENGE OF THE PINK GRANNY PANTIES

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  70. "Someone was watching me again."


    First line of my YA urban fantasy

    Great contest! Thank for the opportunity!

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  71. Wow, some of these are great first lines. Make me wanna read more.

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  72. The bomb isn't heavy.

    --> from my YA contemporary, Listen. Thanks!

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  73. My MS isn't anywhere near finished. But I thought I'd just share my first line.

    "Daniel Elijah Cole, just nineteen years old, died because of me."

    :)

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  74. "I’d rather have a root canal than go jeans shopping, though somehow I always forget that until I’m standing in front of a mirror that makes me look short and squat, under lighting that lends my skin an unhealthy greenish tinge."

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  75. Danny had blood and bits of wool all over his clothes.

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  76. Great idea! (And great contest-Thanks!) Here's the first line from my Steampunk romance.

    With the aplomb of a farmer's wife disembowelling a chicken, Lady Agatha Carmichael plunged her hands into the cavernous wound in the cadaver's abdomen and chest.

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  77. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  78. "The sounds of gravel crunching underneath worn tires, mechanical wheezing, and coughing from an old tan Buick betrayed an intrusion in the old warehouse district."

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  79. On the night my father killed my mother, the frost choked the buds of my grandmother's roses.

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  80. Reposting first sentence only.

    "Maybe James wanted her dead."

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  81. From my UF, Bite Me:

    Talbot blames his mother for the fact he spent part of the summer impersonating a nun.


    Thanks!
    Lori

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  82. Awesome contest! Here's mine:

    "I died before I was even born."

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  83. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  84. Awesome contest - I'm looking forward to what reading everyone else posts.

    At rest, the young girl's eyes looked identical, but when she glanced around the room, the left had trouble keeping up with the right.

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  85. "Life seemed so unimportant …and wasn’t it really?"

    YA Paranormal

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  86. "Holliday was either born twice or not at all; I forget which is true, but it's certainly one of those."
    -Colin Hill

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  87. Colin's sign language interpreter flanked him at school like an extra appendage, but between his last class and football practice, he navigated the hallways of Broadview High alone.

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  88. It's hard to believe that such atrocities were committed in such a beautiful place.

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  89. "We heard it fall."

    by MAB

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  90. My completed novel is MG, which you don't seek yet, so I'm submitting the first line from my YA novel. It is unfinished, and I understand if you decide to limit it to finished mss. only.

    "Cedar can't decide which is more stubborn: her heart or Finn's mind."

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  91. Hayleigh Scott19/4/10 9:52 PM

    My first line from my YA:

    "Death by tortoise shell. Not very imaginative, but it did the trick."

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  92. Thanks for the contest.

    "The Vaseline on her face itched."

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  93. These are great lines, mines pretty simple, but here we are from the prologue of my multicultural/literary YA:

    I opened my eyes slowly and drowsily, trying to draw the connection between the keening wail of the fire truck I heard outside and my aching head.

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  94. Aw, why not? From my MG novel:

    There are four Captain Stupendous fan clubs in Copperplate City, but ours is the only one that doesn't suck.

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  95. Here's mine!

    "He hated killing people right before Christmas."

    Good luck everyone.

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  96. Okay. Here's mine form my YA urban fantasy novel.


    From chapter 1 - “Alright! I’ll send you a post card.”

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  97. Here's my first sentence:
    It didn’t take long for Phoebe to figure out Jeremy wasn’t coming back for her.
    Cool contest! Thank you!

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  98. I opened the tan suitcase; the smell that slithered out was potent.

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  99. Okay, this is the first line from BRAINEATER JONES, a horror/mystery novel:

    "I woke up dead this morning."

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  100. At least the amazing photos of the volcano do justice to that name.

    First line from my current Urban Fantasy:
    The van smelled like potato chips and stale coffee, and the constant but irregular squeak of Junior Agent Alan Michelleti’s chair had killed any chance of sleep.

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  101. First line:

    Her skin was like cream, soft to my touch and sweet to my eyes.

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  102. Well, considering I've been wondering about my first line lately (though I am NOT touching that page until I'm done), this seems a good prospect to dive in.

    "Jereman was dead."

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  103. Thanks for the opportunity!

    My first line from FATED MISHAPS, a YA historical fiction.

    "I will never be Lady Hakebourn."

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  104. "I am the first one to notice the three strange men approaching our village."

    THE NEW ZERO--YA fantasy

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  105. Good contest!

    "Muzzamil Hassan was one week past his sixteenth birthday, and if the day went as planned he would not see his seventeenth."

    The opening of my second novel.

    Good luck to ...me!

    RWood08@netzero.net

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  106. Cool contest!

    Here's mine:

    "I wondered if the girl sitting at the front desk knew that things like me existed."

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  107. Thanks! From YA novel, THE SECRET OF GABRIEL ADAM:

    Gabe kept a wary eye on the church bell.

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  108. Thanks, Jim, for such a wonderful opportunity for someone! Like others, mine is a non-fiction book proposal that I'm working on, so I suppose that I don't qualify either, but I wanted to give you my first line just to participate.

    "I've had five husbands; none of them were mine."

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  109. Thanks for a great opportunity!

    Here is the first line of my commercial women's fiction novel, THE SORBET GUY:

    Matt Lehrer’s college roommate was a politician above all else.

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  110. Here my first line
    The closed iron gates stood tall behind the guard, Marjorie Fisher wanted inside those gates but more importantly the great HE wanted her inside the gated community of Glam, Alabama.
    Happy reading and writing,
    Annie

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  111. YA Urban Fantasy BIRTH OF A FURY

    Mary wiped her eyes; they were bleeding again.

    Thanks for the contest.

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  112. If we can enter again here is another, if not this is cheat # 1 of 2.

    DEATH OF A SMALL TOWN GOSSIP

    Adelaide was 75 years old and could easily live another 30, which annoyed most everyone in Brent Falls.

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  113. Cheat 2?

    YA Fantasy APPRENTICE DEFIANT

    Jeremiah couldn't figure out how Darrah had planted the purple worm in his arm.

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  114. I've already had fun reading through everyone's first lines - boy, there's some great stuff out there! Thanks for the contest!

    "Tess Garibaldi wished she believed in miracles because she sure as shit needed one right now."

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  115. Heh. Much fun. :)

    First Line:

    "You hunk of English shit!"

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  116. Caroll Shreeve20/4/10 12:23 AM

    Blowin' smoke around the planet causes contest!
    First line: Hot winds flowed across the desert to Great Salt Lake; cumulus clouds, roiling thousands of feet high, obliterated the moon.

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  117. Oh, fun!! Thanks for the contest!

    "Pino propped his chin on the shovel handle and stared at the bones nestled in the bottom of the coffin."

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  118. YA comedy PLUMB

    "Go through the gates of Hell and head out to the back forty: the Belling High School cafeteria is right there."

    Thank you for this opportunity.

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  119. I've already queried you, but who can resist a contest? :)

    YA fantasy

    "I’ve never had a birthday cupcake—might help if I had a birthday."

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  120. Can't resist a contest! The entries so far are really great, too.

    From my YA, Redemption is a Road

    "The leaves were just turning that brown of death and flying in waves from the trees."

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  121. Thanks for doing this, I've loved reading the entries!

    "I greeted his tombstone the way I always did—with a swift kick."

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  122. I love this blog!

    From my contemporary YA:

    Most Joes said I got a wild streak longer than the neck of my B.C. Rich guitar.

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  123. Love this!

    First line from my Paranormal YA.

    "I’ve seen them before, the men whose white wings sparkled opaquely and glimmered in the sunlight, walking around the same as the rest of the population, blending in eerily well—only because I seemed to be the one person who could see the abnormalities protruding from their backs."

    -Lisa B.

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  124. First line of my middle grade historical fiction novel, Mercury's Daughter.

    "Your Majesty, all I have ever loved is about to burn at the stake."

    -Nicole Marie Schreiber
    www.nicolemarieschreiber.com

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  125. Great post!

    My first line: I shouldn't be on this plane.

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  126. Sounds like fun :) This is the first line of ALWAYS READ THE FAE PRINT, a humorous urban fantasy:

    Someone should have cut me off after the fourth Bacardi & Coke.

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  127. Just found this. Great idea.

    My first line: The fluorescent light reflected in her big, brown eyes.

    Amie McCracken
    www.iamalivephotos.blogspot.com

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  128. "The lights of the moon still shone on the shores of Lake Deagwn when a little figure covered with a hood and carrying a case with a shoulder strap sneaked out of the castle gates."

    Young Feminine Medieval Fantasy

    Elda Veyller

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  129. Pure awesomeness:

    First line from YA ELLA'S DANCE:

    Ella stared at the white alabaster urn the funeral director had given her.

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  130. First line:

    "Father had told me that by the time I was ten
    Great Heats I would know most everything I needed to know, and what I would care about then, I would care about for the rest of my life."

    Historical Fiction -- "Great Heats" -- set in the year 1000.

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  131. "The wind blew from north in a soft morning of June, the light frost hung up in the hills drawing them white as snow, painted by the shy early rising sun."

    Historical Romance

    Ricardo Veyller

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  132. I lost my mind today, but it’s OK, I’ve been expecting it to happen ever since I was ten when I overheard my mother tell some of her friends, “When women go through the ‘change,’ they go crazy.”


    HOW EM FOUND HER CHA CHA - Women's Lit

    Thanks for the opportunity.

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  133. My first line:

    "Livia had once taken an off-world lover. Long, long ago, when she was learning how to arrange her life suitably."

    Thanks for the opportunity - looking forward to seeing your final thoughts on so many first lines.

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  134. Fun contest. Looks like there are lots of entries already, but I'll still give it a shot:

    The land is cold and lonely, distant peaks flashing skyward, bounding up from the deepening shadows of the hollows in their wake.

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  135. This is cool, reading everyone's opening line. I don't know how you agents pick between so many creative people.
    Alright, I know this isn't one line, but if I just posted,"In," it would make no sense. From my novel Proving Ground:

    In.
    Out.
    In.
    Out.
    Breathe Laura, breathe, I chanted to myself as I pulled the massive doors open.

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  136. Great contest!!! Here's the first line in my manuscript:

    Jocelyn stared at the guy sitting across the table from her, wondering how he’d react later – when he was drowning.

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  138. Great idea!! Thanks.

    "The knife sliced through, coming out clean on the other side, but it always did when Aunt Eliza did the cutting."

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  139. I'm pretty sure my sister had decided to become a pagan or a baptist or something before she offed herself so I don't know why we were having a Catholic funeral.

    (YA)

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  140. YA fiction

    His foot slipped. He pitched forward clutching the baby as he fell.

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  141. I'm cheating because the first line is two words.

    From MG FREAKY FRANK
    I have a secret. I know things. Lots of things. About people. Like I know that my math teacher, Mr. Bugg, is going to pick his nose and wipe a boogie on the back of his yellow smiley face tie....

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  142. YA Fiction:

    He must have watched me from a safe distance, like a crocodile observing its prey.

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  143. "I wasn’t sure if, or how, I liked the way the dim lighting danced over my unclothed body, but was grateful that it was more dark than light in the bathroom."

    Thank you, Jim, for the oportunity! This novel might be more Rachel's taste since the protagonist's name is Adelaide! Genre: Fiction based on a true story.

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  144. "I never wanted my wedding performed by an Elvis impersonator, yet I found myself standing beside my fiancé and looking at the King."

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  145. "Death—defined as the end of life—the word alone makes people sad."

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  146. "With the exception of the two uniformed police officers on the front steps puking into evidence bags, Ellen LeeAnn Walsh's building looked like a hundred other slightly run-down Italianate Victorians in San Francisco."

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  147. Katie Flanagan20/4/10 10:57 AM

    "Professor Morgan's fingers slid around my wrist and stopped me mid-step."

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  148. Cassandra spotted the Doom Painting at a flea market, and it called to her with a crotchety, insistent voice that couldn’t be ignored.

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  149. Sweet contest. Here's the first line of Callarion at Night:

    "Killing the priest would be simple."

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  150. I leaned forward, my wiry red hair hung over Mom’s face as I checked her breathing--still steady.

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  151. "I killed three people while I was there. Two were up close and personal; one wasn’t up close at all, but was much, much more personal."

    YA Fantasy

    I'm loving eveyone's opening lines... I already have my two favorites and I want to see if they jibe with yours! Thanks for the fun :)

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  152. Perched on the scaffolding, Gabriel felt the walls constrict, remembered each stroke of graphite on parchment, each thwack of setting maul to stone above the nave.

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  153. "If you walk down the grand staircase of Osthegn Castle, you will see a family portrait."

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  154. Rhonda leans against the door jamb mining an ear with a pinky, jeans slung beneath hipbones, head tilted to the splintering wood.

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  155. I squeezed the trigger, the noise of the gun deafening in the confined space of the elevator.

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  156. The warm, summer evening was mine to do with as I pleased, something very foreign to me, and my ability to make a decision was lost.

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  157. You've been chosen.

    from Shadow of the Long Life Brigade.

    -NAP

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  158. Sounds great and thanks.

    Urban Fantasy

    “Alexsi! Someone saw a Bigfoot near the Native Forest,” Professor Ludtz exclaimed from his massive oak desk on the other side of the office.

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  159. YA zombie thriller:

    "He awoke in the dark to the screams again. His hands were automatic spiders for the gun."

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  160. "Faint purring was keeping me awake."

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  161. After school, the girls congregated in the park to get high.

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  162. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  163. A howl unraveled, waking Nevada; as the cry faded eyes closed, tense from neck to knees, she strained to understand.

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  164. I have seen myself die countless times, though death has never laid claim to my life.

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  165. “Tessa!” I nearly jump out of my seat when she wails, crying that her gum is stuck up her nose.

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  166. Forty-eight hours ago, the man Elizabeth was willing to sacrifice herself for before this council of vampire elders, had been the very same man who killed her.

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  167. From LINCOLN'S DIARY, a modern suspense novel:

    Burying Mom was a start, but the harder job would be digging up the truth.

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  168. Cool contest and LOTS of entries. Good luck to your eyes!

    My thumb stumbled over the rubbery cell phone button for the hundredth time.

    --Edgy YA

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  169. Thomas Buttermore was your typical left-coast college kid, raised on Twinkies and white guilt.

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  170. Here's mine, from "47 Echo":

    "What size boots you wear?" the old man hacked as he led Nick through the open-air morgue, his hand already hovering close to the feet of the nearest corpse.

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  171. First line:

    The text message came that night, when Ian was in the library.

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  172. Sneaking out of the house on a school night wasn’t something Maya would normally do.

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  173. From my YA contemporary/adventure fantasy novel:

    "The dazzling golden sunlight faded away and the dense gloom of the underground cave closed in around them."

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  174. Among the legion of unfounded, self-manufactured terrors that he masochistically nurtured prophesying his own demise, Emmett's most dreaded and certain prediction had always been that some rapacious, smoke-colored spirit would discover him vulnerable, tease the germ of his glum soul from its mortal tether, and entrench itself in that bleak hollow; and by his letter, it seemed to have happened.

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  175. Good luck, Jim, and thanks for the opportunity. :)

    MG Paranormal

    "I always thought books were boring, a waste of time, but not dangerous. I was wrong."

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  176. What a wonderful contest, with a most generous prize. Thank you, Jim.

    Paranormal Romance seems out-of-step with the presented genres, but what the hey...

    From LOVES FREEDOM, my (nearly “finalized” 92,000 word) paranormal (time-travel) romance.

    "Wellington’s parting orders hammered through Ashland’s thoughts, keeping pace with the hooves pounding beneath him."

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  177. YA fantasy:

    My papers scattered everywhere and my books fell with a loud thud as I braced my arms for impact against the cold, hard floor.

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  178. Here's mine:

    The baby floated face down in the tub.

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  179. First line:

    Catalina Flores de la Peña's tongue got her in more trouble than any other part of her body, even though there were far more likely candidates.

    From A STORM HITS VALPARAISO, set during South America's wars of independence

    www.davidgaughran.com

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  180. From PERDITION

    He quit his job at the high school amid rumors that his wife was sleeping with the history teacher.

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  181. (Science Fiction)

    Layne sat on the end of his bed, head in one hand, datapad in the other, and decided he hadn't slept enough to face either message.

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  182. My manuscript is not yet complete, but I couldn't resist this:

    Zahra could smell the old ndovu, a great pachyderm; for three suns now, she’d tracked him.

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  183. "I pressed my shoulders into a wooden armchair in Mrs. Wintour’s antechamber, clasping my hands together so they would not tremble with cold and anxiety."

    From VAN DIEMEN AT 17 (YA/Women's Fiction)

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  184. Excellent contest! Here is the
    opening to my manuscript:

    Sometimes the brain can’t process what it sees. When something is so wrong, so horrible, the brain refuses to recognize it. That was the case when I walked into the Keeper’s house, intent on getting a nice, steaming cup of tea to warm my cold hands and delivering an invitation to a party.

    Rebecca
    http://rebeccatlittle.blogspot.com/

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  185. Does it matter if the MS is finished? Mine isn't.
    If so, ignore this post, I suppose. My ms is YA fantasy.

    "People screamed in the streets, clinging to their loved ones as they tried to escape."

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  186. Thanks for a good laugh Rebecca T.!!! Your first sentence is so true! "Sometimes the brain can't process what it sees."!!! The contest is the first line/sentence of your manuscript, not the opening paragraph. Others have made the same mistake, and I'm not trying to be mean by bringing attention to it, but your first sentence just brings a humorous touch to your error.

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  187. "With the evening terminator chasing away the day, the eastern edge of the city was just starting to twinkle."

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  188. Here's mine: "The new Cadillac with the gull-wing bumpers had smashed, accordion-like, into a tree, steam spewing from its radiator.

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  189. I watched from my bed as the snow started to fall; a few light flakes at first, in the blue-black darkness, then sharp gusts of wind pushing the swirls to their final resting place on the barren lawn behind my house.

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  190. Here's mine:

    One warm and sultry summer night, long after the lights had been turned down in his room, Vladdie the Lamb opened his bedroom window and began to howl at the full moon.

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  191. I always knew it all, or at least I thought I did. But nothing could have prepared me for the next twenty-four hours.

    YA Urban Fantasy - The Innocents

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  192. As Maxfield Parrish Clark crosses Prospect Street, he catches sight of the canal bridge, its rusted girders glazed and shimmering in the rain, and his breathing eases up for the first time all day.

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  193. Great idea. Very cool!

    "Aldric gazed at them through the gilded mirror."

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  194. I swallowed my Altoid the moment the rebel hottie across the reading room drew his attention away from his book and busted me staring at him.

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  195. Philip could not believe his eyes. His Amarantha. Sweet Amarantha - a temptress in the silver moonlight.

    From FROZEN IN TIME - Historical fantasy.

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  196. For as long as he could remember, Little Jemmy had dreamed of being free to do as he pleased, of raftin' down the Potomac with his brothers and sisters, of climbin' the old Mulberry trees just beyond the stables; he even dreamed of learnin' how to read, but Jemmy wasn't allowed to do any of those things because he was a slave.

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  197. Thanks for the cool contest.

    Here's my first sentence:

    Everything I'd ever read said not to go inside, and to call the police from a neighbor’s house, but I entered anyway.

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