Dog Pile on the Slush Pile

29 Jan

I did it.

Earlier this week, I mentioned Nathan Bransford’s 4th Sort-of-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge. I wasn’t sure I should enter. But then Mr. Bransford posted something along the lines of Eh, Why not? Time’s running out. So I said what the heck. There’s safety in numbers. I joined the throngs in the soon-to-be slush pile. My entry is on this page, tenth from the bottom, I think (#1391). It starts, “Elizabeth fit her feet…”

My paragraph may never be read that deep in the pile, but the challenge is still proving useful. NB suggested his readers go through the entries to learn what works,what doesn’t work, and how the good ones start to stand out after a while. [Article here] Mr. Untitlement and I did just that last night, and doggonnit if NB wasn’t right. I printed the first 200 paragraphs (of more than 1500), and we went through, crossing out the ones that didn’t grab us. In our first sweep, we wound up with only 45 survivors. It was disturbingly fun and educational. You really do start to see patterns after a while.  I’m going to go through those 45 today and see how many I still like.

Meanwhile, I’m sure others are wrinkling their noses at my first paragraph and making big red Xs across it. So be it.

Even if you didn’t enter, I highly recommend taking Mr. Bransford’s advice to read the entries. It’s a true crash course on how to start a book.

Thanks a zillion to everyone who read and commented on my 99th page yesterday. It means a lot to me. If you haven’t read it and commented, then I’m taking my toys and going home consider giving it a look. Thanks again!

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4 Responses to “Dog Pile on the Slush Pile”

  1. Misha January 29, 2011 at 10:58 #

    Yikes. I was one of the first 100 who entered (I think). Hope my paragraph didn’t get the big red crosses. 😉

    Good luck!

    • Caroline January 29, 2011 at 12:24 #

      Not sure. I looked but didn’t see an entry with your name in any of the paragraphs I read.
      Good luck to you, too!

  2. Sarah Ahiers January 29, 2011 at 11:47 #

    Mine’s like 800 something. I memorized the number, then promptly forgot it.
    And no worries about how deep your sentence is, NB for sure reads every single one, so that’s at least one read, right?

    • Caroline January 29, 2011 at 12:26 #

      I know my number because it was one of the last ones — easy to find. 🙂

      NB’s eyes are the ones that count in this round, so, yep, that’s good.

      Good luck!

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