Okay, first some exciting news. Mysteries and Margaritas is getting a new header, and it’s awesome. The four of us took pictures in various mystery-solving poses and our webmistress blended them together. Wait until you see it!!
To celebrate the new header and to promote a following to the blog, we are going to have an amazing contest where the first line of your story, the last line (hook) and the blurb will be judged. Here’s the schedule.
Monday, May 3rd – Beginning at 8 AM Central (Texas time) the first fifty people who email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a first line will participate. Do not post on the blog as that will show your name.
At 5 PM Central time, the entries will be posted on the blog even if
we don’t get fifty of you to enter. At that time we will encourage any
reader to comment on what works for them and what doesn’t.
Thursday, May 6th – The thirty finalists will be announced after three judges (both unpubbed and pubbed) cull twenty entries.
Friday, May 7th - The thirty finalists will have until 5 PM Central time to send the last line of their first chapter (the hook) to me at email@example.com
Monday, May 10th – I will post the thirty last lines.
Thursday, May 13th – The ten finalists will be announced after three new judges (both pubbed and unpubbed) cull another twenty.
Friday, May 14th – The ten finalists will have until 5 Pm Central time to send a blurb (3 line maximum) to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to be judged by Christine Witthohn of Book Cents literary.
Monday, May 24th – Three winners will be announced. The first place winner will receive a beautiful Mysteries and Margaritas tote bag with the new header on it PLUS a first chapter critique by Christine. The 2nd and 3rd place winners will each get a M & M tote.
Here are the rules. NO exceptions. The first line and the last line can only be ONE line. Anything else will be disqualified. The same goes for the blurb. Anything over three lines will get culled automatically. Any entry that is posted to the blog and not sent to me so that I can remove your name will automatically be disqualified. The time limits will be strictly followed. Again, no exceptiopns.
How much does it cost? All you have to do is sign on to be a follower of Mysteries and Margaritas blog. Other than that, it’s free and a great chance to get your work on Christine’s desk.
The kicker is that we would encourage comments from the writers watching from the sidelines. Tell us what you like or dislike about the first line and what might make it stronger in your opinion. Snarky, disrespectful or just plain old mean comments will be deleted. Of course the contest is only for unpublished authors. Current Book Cents clients are also disqualified from entering, but we really would like your comments. Every writer loves feedback.
We’ll post more on Saturday, May 1st and you’ll be able to ask specific questions then. So all of you out there start honing up your first and last lines and your blurb. It’s a free chance to have your story land on an agent’s desk.
Another thing I want to mention. We are doing this with the blessings of my good friend, Karin Tabke,http://www.karintabke.com/blog/,who has a first line contest every year on her blog. Hopefully, she’ll add a few comments for you guys.
Addendum: Sheesh, Karin. I hate it when you're right. We have had a lively discussion among ourselves about what is unpubbed and what is not. Here's what we came up with. If you even got a penny for your work, M & M considers you pubbed. BUT - since an agent is the final judge, we decided to open this contest up to anyone who doesn't have an agent. Hope that clears things up. Also, don't forget, you have to sign up as a follower BEFORE you send me the entry or it will not count. One last thing, please hold off on sending your first line until 8 AM Monday morning. I had my first entry come through already and it's a good one. Too bad I'm not judging! I've emailed her to set her alarm to wake up and post first thing Monday morning.
Okay, that’s out of the way. I thought I’d spend a few minutes talking about first lines or hooks that really reeled you in. My all-time favorite is “Which one of you bitches is my mother?” The setting is 4 friends at the funeral of a fifth when this young lady comes up and asks this question. It is the last line of the Prologue from Lace by Shirley Conran.
The first line of my sperm story is “Before the night ended, Dani Perez would have sex with a perfect stranger.” Damn! I’m good!!LOL
Jump in here and tell me first or last lines that stand out for you. Yes, it could even be your own, but if you plan on entering the contest, I wouldn’t tip my hand.
Not first lines, but others that resonate with me are:
“Who are those guys?”
“I see dead people.”
“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”
“Make my day.”
“Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.”
Okay, can you guys tell me where those are from? I know – way too easy.