We're re-posting the rules of the contest on Monday and we'll answer any questions concerning the contest. After a conflict was averted this week regarding use of the name, we're pleased to say, all parties are satisfied with the results. We want to take a minute right now to plug the lovely ladies (and gents?) of Hudson Valley RWA and their yearly contest Hook, Line, and Sinker. Here's the website to check it out.
I'm reminded of the time Southwest Airlines wanted to use the logo, Plane Smart, and another company had already copyrighted the name. The CEOs of both companies arm-wrestled in a public forum and the winner got to keep the name. As it turned out, the other guy won but graciously allowed SWA to use the logo. (I'm sure the other guy flies free now!!) Fortunately, none of us had to do that (I've had surgery on both hands and I would absolutely suck at it!!) Anyway, deadline to enter the Hudson Valley contest is November 1st.
Now on to this one. The only requirement to enter is to sign on as a follower of the blog. When I get your entry, that's the first thing I will check. For those of you who have already signed on but used a name that doesn't tell me who you are (EX - book lover, etc) you will need to mention in your entry that this is how you signed on. Otherwise, your entry will not count. I will reply and remind you of this, but it may be that when you finally do get that straightened out, we will already have reached our 50 entry quote. So make sure that is taken care of. Here are the rules.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com 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.
More 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 exceptions.
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. The contest is open to any writer, pubbed or unpubbed, who does not have an agent.
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. A word of caution. More is not always better. My friend, Karin Tabke, runs a first line contest yearly on her blog, and there are a lot of writers who try to pack in as much as they can in the first sentence using a semi colon. Personally, I hate semi colons, but I'm not judging. For example - Janet gasped when she saw the two-headed monster coming her way; she scolded herself for not having her gun.
That sentence packs way more punch like this - Mentally cursing herself for leaving her gun back in the car, Janet screamed as the two-headed monster jumped out at her.
Or, simply - Janet screamed as the monster landed on her. (That gets my interest right away.)
For those not entering, please hang around on Monday and give the entries some feedback. Tell them what works for you and what doesn't. Remember, any snarky, disrespectful or down-right mean comments will be deleted.
Let the games begin... but not till Monday May 3rd at 8 AM Central time.