Wednesday, January 26, 2011

First Paragraphs

Ex-Super Agent (Literary, not a combo of Jason Bourne and James Bond) Nathan Bransford is holding a sort of annual contest were he judges writers first paragraphs. I entered because it is a 1 in 1,078 chance to win. That's good odds in the publishing world.

I picked between the opening paragraphs of six of my books. If I can get the poll function to work I'll test to see if I picked the right one. Tell me which of these opening paragraphs you think is strongest.

The poll box is in the top left corner.
<------------- Right here.

1) Project Spare-Rib:

The letter smelled green, always a good sign. Tom looked to see if any of the remaining letters smelled a passionate red, but disappointingly only the stale gray of passionless corporate correspondence. He loved getting letters, even though most people he knew preferred to communicate through email, there was something more real about holding an actual letter in his hands when reading something as opposed to just having words flash up on the screen.

2) The Setting Earth:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference,” Sam thought as his left hand gripped the small pistol in his pocket aimed at his lover. He forced himself to look at his right hand, his thumb poised over the button that would decide the fate of all humanity. Both fates would bring an end to civilization as he knew it. One fate would destroy all human poverty and suffering along with the struggles and redemptions that all humans must go through, the other would destroy all human life. He didn’t know if his action, or inaction, would bring on which fate.

3) The Pizza Diaries:

Brian was a little taken back by the note that the customer handed him. The customer was female but he couldn’t make out much else as she was wearing a wide brimmed leather hat pulled down to almost touch her dark sunglasses. She was several inches shorter than Brian so the hat hid her face from his view. She had the collar of her heavy leather jacket pulled up hiding her jaw. Brian thought that odd, as it was a warm summer night. But she had given him a dollar tip just for handing the pizza to her so he opened her note gladly.

4) Mind Thief:

Howie walked into his family shrink’s lobby and couldn’t help notice the redhead who was sitting on one of the couches reading a magazine. To say she was a knockout was an understatement. She had large breasts, at least double Ds, and the top she was wearing showed them off nicely. But what really stunned him were her gorgeous brown eyes, there was something about them that expressed that she was intelligent and able to size people up in an instant but at the same time playful.

5) Ask Not:

Bill Stickers heard the invasion siren go off and automatically looked for the nearest shelter as he had been trained to do since elementary school. All around him people were panicking and running in random directions hoping to find a shelter. He saw most of the crowd had noticed the large shelter sign in front of the maglev station. Turning around he saw a small shelter sign on the community theater and calmly strolled towards it. To confirm his idea that this was just a drill like the last 700 times he had heard the siren go off, he looked at the nearest countdown clock. TIME TO ALIEN INVASION: 10 Years, 3 Months, 14 Days. Plenty of time to stroll the two blocks to the shelter.

6) Earth Strike:

Sam looked up as the orderlies opened the door to his hospital room. He looked them over carefully and determined that they were real people. He took a deep breath before asking, “When is this?”

The lead orderly gave him a knowing smile, “It’s 2011. You’re in the beginning of the twenty-first century.”

“Oh, pity.” Sam sighed, “I like the mid-twenty-second so much better.”

“I’m sure you do.” The orderly humored him.

(Technically that's 4 paragraphs but it is one train of thought.)

It will be interesting to see if people think I picked the right one.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Alien Thoughts

1 comment:

Stephanie Barr said...

Whew! I can finally post a comment. I didn't want to when I was the only one who'd been involved with the poll.

Wait, telling you I was first has the same effect, right?