Monday, February 7, 2011

First Line Contest. Wanna Play?

The contest ended today. Thank you so much for your help, everyone! My sentence is a million times better than it was before, and I'm very happy with it. You all are the best!

Brenda Drake is hosting a first line contest that I'm stoked about, and I encourage any of you with finished novels to compete. All you have to do is post your first line and blog address in the comments section of her site, then post your first line on your blog. The deadline it February 8th (so soon!).

The prize makes me drool. Weronika Janczuk with D4EO Literary Agency will offer help on the winner's book.

1st place -- a critique of the first 50 pages + query
2nd place -- a critique of the first 25 pages + query
3rd place -- a critique of the query


Here's my entry:

Name: Teralyn Pilgrim
Title: Sacred Fire
Genre: historical fiction.

· The sun set above the river Tiber, its reflection making the currents into pink ribbons, and Tuccia clutched the edge of her seat; Rome was close. 

 Wish me luck! If you want to do it too, I send good luck in your direction as well.


  1. Historical fiction about Rome? Already hooked. On the sentence itself, it needs a little polish and trim. But it solidifies the reader in both character and setting - which is what you need in a historical. Good work.

  2. Hello fellow blogfest participant! I'm lucky #13 on the list :)

    I have two suggestions...

    I think you could remove "look like" because that weakens the descriptive statement of the river. (And your description is lovely by the way)

    Second, I'm a bit confused by the "jumped" part. Is she jumping out of the reada entirely? Or just fidgeting around in her seat? (I'm guessing the second one?)

    Christi Corbett

  3. I love the imagery in this sentence. It's warm and rosy, just the way I picture Rome when I remember it.

  4. I like the setting and description. I want to be pulled in a bit more, though.

  5. I love the imagery of the water as pink ribbons. I actually think this might work better as two sentences though, i.e:

    Tuccia clutched the edge of her seat. When she saw the sun setting above the river Tiber, its reflection making the currents into pink ribbons, she knew Rome was close by.

    That's just my opinion though. If this is published I'd love to know because I'm 100% Italian and have never been to Italy- it may be the closest I get!

  6. Did someone say Rome? I'm in! The imagery is absolutely beautiful. I do, however, agree with some of the previous comments about making this into more than one sentence.

  7. Great imagery, it's beautiful.I agree that this is a bit wordy and could be broken down into more than one sentence.

  8. Ooh I love the pink ribbon part. I've never heard something quite like that, which is nice. You don't want cliches. :-)

    Thanks for your comment on my page...I added the second line to help people out.


  9. I like the imagery you have here. I agree with Gia about the possibility of splitting it up into two sentences.

    Good Luck!

  10. Hello! #102 here! Okay, I could tell you that your imagery is beautiful (and it is!), but everyone else said that already. So, I want to focus on the readability. I learned from a great agent that your first line can't be a mouthful. So, although I LOVED your pink ribbons line, it makes it a mouthful. I would take that part out and add it to a second line or something. I loved the action of her clutching her seat. It makes me wonder what is making her so anxious about Rome.

    Good Job!

  11. Nice descriptive writing. But it is also too long for me...But I like that the you mentioned the MC.

  12. I'm a wee bit jealous of her being so near to Rome. haha. I really like the imagery your words put into my head though. Sunset over a grand river, ahhhh!

  13. I agree, I love the pink ribbon part. Beautiful - but I would actual put it in the second sentence if it were me as I felt it made the first sentence too busy. Spitting it up feels stronger to me, though now the second sentence probably needs more.

    When Tuccia saw the sun setting above the river Tiber she clutched the edge of her seat because she knew Rome was close by. Its reflection made the currents into pink ribbons.

  14. Thank you sooo much for your help! I'll do my best to read all of your lines too.

    I agree about splitting it into two sentences, and in the book,that's what I'll do. For the sake of the contest, though, I don't know how to make the one line gripping enough without the image, the character, and the mention of Rome. I don't want to break the rules. Hmmmm... I welcome suggestions!

  15. I agree with everyone and how your sentence has great imagery. I also agree with making it two sentences. If only for the fact that it takes the reader too long to get to that pivotal word...'Rome'!!! Because as you can see from the comments, it's a word that attracts people.

  16. I had to read it twice, I think it was the description that threw me off. I like it, but it could be your second sentence. Try starting with the tension.

    Tuccia gripped the edge of the seat the moment she saw the sun setting above the river Tiber, Rome was close by.

  17. I like how Tanya restructured it and I might write it that way, but don't you think taking out the image makes the sentence weaker?

  18. I agree with the comments that this is wordy, but it's got some great visual elements. I think you can tighten it without losing too much of the picture you're paiting. Maybe something more like:

    Tuccia clutched the armrests of her seat as the setting sun turned the currents of the river Tiber into pink ribbons; Rome was close.

    You can leave anything out about 'she saw' or 'she knew' because this is from her perspective so it's already implied. Again,though, stunning visuals and so much tension implied. Great hook.

  19. Lovely imagery. I think it can be further tightened. My suggestion:

    "The sun set over the river Tiber, painting its currents pink, like ribbons waving in the breeze, and Tuccia clutched the edge of her seat; Rome was close."

  20. nice work. I think Loralie is on to something here. Just by shifting the order of things you can add a lot of clarity to a beautiful sentence without sacrificing your imagery.

    Well done :)


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