This past week, Agent Extraordinaire Nathan Bransford wrapped up a First Paragraph Contest on his blog!
He received over 2100 aspiring authors' first paragraphs, read them all, went blind, got Lasik, came back, and chose the top few paragraphs that really spoke to him, and finally, one glorious winner.
The best part of the contest, is that today he told us why he chose the paragraphs he did, and why they jumped out at him from the contest Slush Pile. Go check it out! Not only can you read the paragraphs from the finalists, but you get Nathan's commentary free of charge on why they were so awesome. Also, if you go back to the Original Post, (and like a challenge), you can read each and every one of the entries he received to see what works for you in a first paragraph and what doesn't.
What a great opportunity for us to learn a) what the slush is REALLY like (only this slush comes soley from smarty pants blog readers who have a leg up), and b) what makes a truly great opening. I learned a lot from reading what other people did about my own preferences and how to make my opening even sharper.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, last week I was one of two runners-up in the Guide to Literary Agents' Blog "Worst Storyline Ever Contest." LOL! I know, I know. I'm the best at being the worst. I'll take it ;)!
The best part is, you can check out the hilarious story premise that took the cake, as well as the fantastic finalists.
Go on over. You know you want to!
What makes a good premise or start to a book in your minds? Are there any books on your shelf that grabbed you? What made them special?