Sunday, September 16, 2012


"It was a dark and stormy night."

Biggest cliche in literature, right? But at one point, it was a brilliant opening line to a story. In fact, the first line of a story or a novel is considered to be the most important. It's what draws the reader in and sets the tone for the rest of the literary journey.

In my quest for some sort of legit literary publication to which to send my craptastic fiction, I stumbled upon The First Line. It's a publication with a bit of a twist - they provide the opening line, and you finish the story with your own interpretation. Their website describes it as "an exercise in creativity for writers and a chance for readers to see how many different directions we can take when we start from the same place."

I was intrigued... I've been struggling with my fiction writing something terrible, and it was like the clouds parted when I found this. I've only attempted it twice - once last year, once this year - but both times, the given line was the spark I needed to get going. The stories poured effortlessly from my fingertips and suddenly I had completed something.

What's more, I finally had something to submit somewhere. The act of submitting a story was, to me, the first step in trying to be a "legitimate" writer - and, of course, get used to rejection. I even added it to my list of 30 Things (write a story, send it in, frame the rejection letter), although it's not quite as fun as getting an actual rejection in the mail would (probably) be.

I mean, to be fair, both stories were likely crap, as they both got rejected, but that's neither here nor there. I will, someday, get into that damn publication, you mark my words. Until then, though, it's fun to try.

Recently, they held a contest for people to submit their own potential first lines to be used for the 2013 series. Imagine my delight when I got an email saying that one of my entries was one of the runner-ups.

But I'm not content to be just a runner-up, not without trying. So I need your help. They have opened voting on the ten runner-up lines, to be used as Prompt #4 in 2013. I kind of hate contests like this where you have to bug all your friends and acquaintances and scrape up votes because it feels like one big popularity contest, and let's be frank, I've never been good at those.

But since is the closest I've gotten to getting published or featured in a publication, I'm going to give it a shot. Vindication, if you will. The next best thing.

You can find out all the details here but I'll keep things short and simple for you. You don't have to create a login anywhere, you don't have to jump through any hoops, and you don't have to "like" a facebook page. You merely have to send an email, and it takes like ten seconds, and you're not going to get spammed by them because you have to voluntarily join their email list, because they are good peoples.

All you need to do is this: paste the following line into an email and send it to Only one vote for email address. (If you're feeling super generous and/or bored, you can probably vote from multiple email addresses. You know, if you want.)

This is my entry:

It took me longer than it should have to realize that I wasn't like the others.

I would be very much appreciative. I don't even remember but the prize is (maybe like $20 and a copy or two of the issue that features that line) but it would make me feel much better about the whole sucking-at-writing bit.

And, hey. If you're feeling stuck and trying to write, you could/should also try your hand at this publication. It's kind of fun, even if you don't end up submitting whatever it is you write. Though you should. It's easy, it's all by email, and they award cash to their selected stories.

Anyway. Thanks in advance for your help. I ain't too proud to beg, especially on this blog.


Ashley, The Accidental Olympian said...


Terra said...

So I already voted but I wanted to say that I think this is super neat idea and also YAY!