“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
First, I want to thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for entering, I know it isn't easy to share a work of love for the world to see. It can be much like bearing your soul, but I must say that each person who entered did a fantastic job of bearing such a thing, and I am VERY impressed. You're all definitely honing in on your craft, and I absolutely enjoyed each word.
First paragraphs aren't easy. They must convey so much, in so little time, so you can hook your reader, lure them in. I've always been fascinated with first paragraphs because they are a fork in the road, in some small way, for your reader, they want to know where they're headed, what adventure they're going on. So without further ado, I present to you the adventures that captured my heart, as well as a couple of great links on the art of crafting a first paragraph...
The Top Ten!
And from here, I'll pass these off to the judges--the wonderful Josh and Tracey Adams of Adams Literary!
Good luck everyone!
One: LL McKinney
Maxwell ignored the NO TRESPASSING signs on the edge of the property, though it would be harder to ignore the high-voltage fence enclosing it. He scrambled forward and dropped to his knees about a foot shy of the perimeter. Moisture soaked his cargo pants with the scent of wet grass and dirt. The chilled night bit at his exposed skin as he shrugged off his leather jacket. He eyed the area in front of him, searching for the faint shimmer of the otherwise invisible barrier, listening for the telltale hum of power.
Two: Susan Silberman
I’d still be standing on the other side of the fence if Jake hadn’t raced out of his doghouse, begging me to open the gate. Well, that and the fact that I was out of clean underwear. After retrieving our key hidden under the rock, my trembling hand froze in front of the keyhole. Jake barked with anticipation, prancing back and forth behind me. I pushed the key into the hole and twisted it, shivering when I heard the familiar click of the deadbolt retracting. I put my hand on the doorknob but couldn’t bring myself to open the door.
Three: Taffy Lovell
I hide the scissors and the red shoebox on the top shelf in my closet. The obituaries can wait. Outside my dirty bedroom window, the Kansas sun is barely coming up. I wonder at the promises the sky holds for me today. Ages ago—in quiet cemeteries, one grave for every town I’ve ever lived, like a trail of stepping stones leading me back to the first death: Mom.
Four: Katharine Manning
It began with the fireflies, as magic often does. Jenny was in the field behind her grandparents’ house with her younger brother, chasing fireflies. She spied a good one, low-flying and lackadaisical, and followed it past the shed and into the darkening woods.
Five: Mellisa Dempsey
You must never tell anyone what you’re about to read (or smell), but most importantly, what you may find. That’s right "may." More about that later, Kid. If you should make it at least halfway through this tale, and if you even dare to finish it, than you must open yourself to the impossible and maybe even to the extraordinary. To everything that you thought would never happen—that maybe, all of those everythings out there could happen. However—and listen up, Kid--once you acknowledge these possibilities, you are forever sworn to secrecy. In short, you’ve made a pact with us—a promise with The Mostly Mutts Club. An agreement that only exists between dogs (and, at times, a few cats and maybe an occasional field mouse and that one mangy, snaggle-toothed possum), but only with a few select and privileged children. For now, anyway...
Six: Suzanne Morrone
You’d think here in the hospital I wouldn’t stand out. Everyone has something going on, even if it’s a good thing like a new baby. But nope, no way. Here I am in a wheelchair, being wheeled to Dad’s car even though there is no reason I can’t walk except for stupid hospital rules, and my freakdom still stands out. So what if I’ve got glasses being held on by a thick elastic band? So what if the glasses have hearing aids on the stems? So what if I just have holes where my ears are supposed to be? It’s not like my skin is green slimy scales, or I’ve got three heads. Even though the 900 year old man pushing my wheelchair could win a contest for world’s oldest human, and on top of that he is wearing bright plaid pants, it’s me that gets noticed.
Seven: Emmy Paxman
The last time I asked about joining one of Judd Grawl’s rift expeditions, Mum banned me from mentioning it until I turned thirty. So the fact that, a month later, I was getting my way without asking seemed... what shall we call it? Suspect.
Eight: Sean Lamb
Peter Harper never got picked for anything. Mr. Hayes, his gym teacher, had to force teams to take Peter in the dreadful dodgeball draft every Friday. Miss Taylor, his math teacher, ignored Peter, even when he raised his hand and made primate sounds to get her attention. Neil, his foster dad, didn’t take Peter to “Take Your Son to Work Day” because he said Peter wasn’t technically his son, and his boss wouldn’t allow it. So, when Peter’s sister, Sally, decided to wander into traffic in pursuit of her precious baseball, Peter picked himself to save her and become a famous hero.
Nine: Kimberly VanderHorst
Ten: Ashley Hearn
The only thing reeking worse than my mojo-bag was the team on the field, and that was sayin’ something considering our rusted scrap-heap of a ‘football stadium’ sat in the middle of a salt marsh. Some called it ‘character,’ but Mama always said about Caledonia: she hadn’t seen so many half-collapsed and boarded up buildings since she’d fled Tehran in ‘79.