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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A writer's challenge!

We decided that it’s time we heard from you, our readers! Here’s this week’s challenge. As we all know, that first paragraph, as well as the first chapter of a novel, is vitally important in catching an editor’s eye. Here are some things to think about.

1. You want the opening paragraph to grab your reader immediately. This means NO back story up front. (In fact, no back story at all in the first chapter is preferred.)
2. Make the reader ask “What happens next?” If you can’t keep them reading the first few paragraphs you’re sunk.
3. Use straight forward language. This is not the time for the reader to have to pull out the dictionary
4. Use your opening paragraph to set the tone of the story. Is this a mystery, a romance, a thriller? The opening pages, and especially that opening line, is the place to start the feel of the book.

So now it’s your turn. Post a comment with an opening paragraph from your current work in progress, or simply write one that’s guaranteed to catch an editor’s (and our) attention. We’ll announce our favorite entry next Monday and send the winner a signed copy of Recipe for Murder.

So come on now, don’t be shy! Let's hear from you.

The KMIS team


Blogger Gina Conroy said...

Okay, I'll be first, though not sure if having critique partners on the panel will disqualify me! :)

When I stepped out of my dressing room into the dim hallway, I should have heard death’s gentle taunting. I should have seen it hovering in the glow of the flickering lights. I should have felt its talons drawing me closer to the abyss.

Instead, I rushed through the hall toward the campus television studio, my heels clicking on the tile like a ticking time bomb.

I dug in my purse, found my compact mirror, and checked my make-up once more. The intoxicating aroma of grease-laden pastries wafted my way, tantalizing my taste buds.
Mental note: Find the Einstein who put the breakfast buffet between my dressing room and the green room and have him lobotomized.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Lisa Harris said...

Yeah, we have our first opening paragraph. Well done Gina. And by the way, no rules, just fun! :-)

Who's next?


2:09 PM  
Blogger Debbie said...

From, Be Not Afraid, the first paragraph. I'm writing a suspense series. Haven't sold it yet, but am working on it. See what you think...

A scream pierced the darkness outside the office. Samantha Cain froze. Her heart pounded as a cold icy chill slid slowly down her back.

1st manuscripte of 3 of the Samantha Cain mystery series, by Deborah Lynne.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Winter Peck said...

This is the opening to my book Five-Second Penalty, currently trying to be sold by my agent.

Cody Lewis flexed her fingers around the braided leather reins. Her muscles strained trying to control a twelve hundred pound horse ready to bolt at the drop of her hands. Beneath her, the mare circled, head held high and turned to the three barrels in the center of the indoor arena. The horse’s chocolate-brown body quivered between Cody’s knees.

“Easy, S’mores,” she said in a soothing drawl.

She took a shuddering breath and released it slowly. Everything rode on this go-round. Tonight determined the rest of the weekend. If she failed to grab one of the Texas Stampede’s top four spots, her chances of going to the semi-finals and the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo would be over.

9:22 AM  
Blogger Ed J. Horton said...

Here's a lighthearted opener that might show up in one of my cozy mysteries someday...

She wished she could, as the soloist sang "I'll Fly Away." An allergic reaction to something she had eaten prior to the start of the funeral service now bloated her thin body into a hiccuping, black-clad version of the Pillsbury Doughboy.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Lisa Harris said...

Love your title, Debbie. Gives me a chill.

And Winter Peck. I definitely want to know if she makes it. Nice!


9:50 AM  
Blogger Lisa Harris said...

Ed, you got a laugh out of me with this. I love the humor that can be found in a good cozy!


9:52 AM  
Blogger Renee' said...

The opening from my new WIP, "Entangled"

The mud, once cool and welcoming between her bare toes, came to life as it wrapped around her ankles and began to swallow her whole. Shelly tensed, the pungent earthiness filling her lungs as she gasped and began the fight of her life.

7:04 AM  
Blogger Ed J. Horton said...

Thank you. I look forward to reading Recipe for Murder.

Personally, I enjoy contests like this one--not because you selected my entry, although, I admit, that felt good--but because I learn from the effort I put into entering and from exposure to the creativity and styles of other contestants. For example, Renee's opener immediately sucked me, leaving my mind screaming, "What happens next?"

10:02 AM  

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