Friday, September 2, 2011

Brilliant Beginnings First Line Contest

The first line of a novel is like the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth: everything else follows from it. – Author Crawford Kilian

Every writer knows the importance of that first line. Whether long or short, that first line has a big job to do. It must hook your readers and be powerful enough to tempt an agent or editor to keep reading.

Now is your chance to write that perfect first line. The first place winner will receive a $30 cash prize. The winning entry will also be used as the first line in a story contest at a later date.


2nd & 3rd Place Prizes


Contest Rules

Write the most compelling first line ever then send it to us.

1. This contest is open to all writers and readers except those associated with

2. The contest will end on October 15. Winners will be posted on October 31.

3. You must sign up as a Follower on our blog to enter.

4. Your line must be your original work.

5. You may make up to 3 entries.

6. Your entries should be sent to and must include your name.

7. All entries will be posted.

8. Entries will be posted as verbatim, typos and all.

9. We reserve the right to refuse any entries considered unacceptable to a general audience.

10. Published writers will judge the contest.

Some Great First Lines for Inspiration

Call me Ishmael. Moby-Dick, Herman Melville, 1851.

This is the saddest story I have ever heard. The Good Soldier, Ford Madox Ford, 1915.

Mother died today. The Stranger, Albert Camus 1942.

Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu. Waiting, Ha Jin, 1999.

They shoot the white girl first. Paradise, Toni Morrison, 1998.

Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston, 1937.

I have never begun a novel with more misgiving. The Razor’s Edge, W. Somerset Maugham, 1944.

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925.

Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person. Back When We Were Grownups, Anne Tyler, 2001.

When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon. The Last Kiss Goodnight, James Crumley, 1978.

Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I’ve come to learn, is women. Middle Passage, Charles Johnson, 1990.

The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting. The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane, 1895.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen – 1813


Andrea Graham said...

Is there an entry fee?

Jennifer Rova said...

There is no entry fee. The judges will not know the names of those submitting. Thanks for you interest in our contest!