Nathan Bransford, Author


Monday, October 29, 2007

The Most Largely Indispensable First Paragraph Is...

Thank you so much to everyone who entered in and voted in the Largely Indispensable First Paragraph Challenge! Turnout was unprecedented, quality was high, and livers were destroyed. Thanks again also to May Vanderbilt for her help picking the finalists.

The people have spoken, and while the voting was extremely close, we have a winner. The author of the most largely indispensable first paragraph is....

EMILY RYAN-DAVIS. Whose last name I initially transposed when I announced the finalists (sorry about that!). Emily's winning paragraph is:

Life inside a piano isn’t all knitting cobweb sweaters and napping. It’s dangerous. Every time a clumsy student flings himself at the bench and bangs on the ivories, just to see his fingers walk across the black and whites, I face death. The action’s unpredictable. If I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time, I could lose my head.


Whew! And that concludes the Largely Indispensable First Paragraph Challenge. Please stay tuned this week as we return to our regularly scheduled blog programming.






58 comments:

Heidi said...

Nathan, thank you so much for this time-consuming contest! I have only recently started my process of getting published, and I am learning so much from reading your blog. Hopefully it will make me appear less an idiot when I start submitting! I laugh out loud reading your posts, and have taken to using the phrase, "for the love of JustinBobby" quite liberally! So thank you for your help, and the huge dose of levity you add to my day!

Amanda said...

Yay Emily!!!!

YOU GO GIRL!!!!

^_^

Precie said...

Congratulations, Emily!

And thank you yet again, Nathan and May! You both did an astounding job!

Nathan, I eagerly await your next challenge! LOL!

V L Smith said...

Hooray for Emily!

Thanks to Nathan and his lovely assistant, May.

This has been fun and educational. I can't wait to see what your twisted mind springs on us next!

eric said...

Add me to the "Congrats and well done to Emily" column as well as the "Thank you very much to Nathan and May" crowd.

Luc2 said...

Congrats, Emily! Well deserved.

And thanks, May and Nathan.

Mary said...

Three cheers for Emily, and a standing ovation for Nathan and May!!!

jeanne said...

Well done, Emily!

Thanks Nathan and May!

Melanie Avila said...

Congratulations Emily! Can we get a second or third paragraph?

Thanks for another fabulous contest!

Roxan said...

Congratulations to Emily.

Nathan, I think your next contest should be who has the most soap opera sounding character names. Ha.

Josephine Damian said...

Precie, maybe Nathan's next contest will be the:
Ginormous Be All and End All Last Line Competition?

:-)

Sue Eves said...

Congratulations Emily and the runners up!

Thanks Nathan for the Largely Indispensable First Paragraph Challenge - it was wholly indispensable and fun!

Josephine Damian said...

Or the:

Let's See If We Can Make Blogger Explode By Posting Our Entire First Page Contest?

Fiona said...

Congratulations, Emily.
I would love to read more.

Josephine Damian said...

Or something pithy and punchy like a Hollywood-style pitch contest?

For example:

My novel is: Kill Bill meets Little Miss Sunshine with a twist of Men in Black.

Ok. I'll stop now before Nathan blocks me.

Congrats to Emily!

Precie said...

LMAO, Josephine! I was thinking along the lines of your "break Blogger" contest. ;)

Tom Judah said...

Well done Emily and congrat's for a job well done!!

Thanks again to both Nathan and May for their time and death of their livers...

Tom

Maya Reynolds said...

Congratulations to Emily and to all the finalists and participants.

There were some absolutely terrific first paragraphs. I'll be looking forward to seeing many of them published in the near future.

And can we get the six finalists to give us their pitches so we may know what the stories were about?

Ello said...

Congratulations to all the finalists! I completely forgot to vote but I'm glad I didn't because it was a hard choice, they were all great. Congratulations to Emily. Would love to know what your story is if you feel like sharing.

Heidi the Hick said...

Are we all exhausted?

I would love to see the query critiques but I'm afraid of being yelled at for bringing on more work...

Heidi the Hick said...

Thanks again, for all the education and entertainment!

Sirena said...

Congratulations, Emily!

Thanks Nathan and May for the contest and judging.

I have decided to stick around and read the regularly scheduled program. I don't watch The Hill but I might become a convert eventually.

Wendy said...

Congratulations to Emily ... and that is a great first paragraph, because all I can think is, "what is this story about? I want to read it!"

Annie Bailey said...

Congrats Emily!

Jennifer L. Griffith said...

Congratulations, Emily!

Morgan St. John said...

Do you get to pretend your blind now? THat seems like a just reward for all the screen viewing you've done.

Congrats, Em.

Michelle(MG) said...

Way to go Emily! Woohoo! Do I get to say I knew you when?

A Paperback Writer said...

Oh bravo!
I'm glad you picked this one. Some of your runners up were not as interesting as those who never made it.
But this one is very good. I hope it gets published so we can read the story.

Other Lisa said...

Congratulations, Emily! And...wow - I voted for something that won! This hardly ever happens, and when it does tends to be voided by a Supreme Court decision.

Dave Wood said...

I figured there were more than enough competitors and voters, so I only lurked this time -- and now I'm kind of sad I didn't play too. Excellent contest, Nathan and May! And congratulations to all the finalists.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tammie said...

Way to go Emily!

And thanks Nathan and May!

Nathan Bransford said...

To the author of the deleted comment:

No anonymous sniping allowed in these parts. If you want to say something about someone's work, do so constructively and non-anonymously. Anything worth saying can be said with your name attached to it.

cc said...

YAY, Emily!

Congrats! May you find an agent if you need one and get that baby in print!

Thanks for the contest, Nathan.

--CC

Kim Stagliano said...

Congrats! So what IS that thing in the piano?

Josephine Damian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josephine Damian said...

Heidi the Hick, good idea! If Nathan was up for it, and the finalists were willing to share them publicly, Nathan could post the query crits.

Would be a good learning experience for all of us, especially after having a sense of the story now that we've seen the finalists' openings.

mkcbunny said...

Congratulations, Emily!

And thanks to everyone who entered, too.

Cassandra said...

Congratulations, Emily!
Very imaginative and well written.
((hugs))

Lupina said...

I was out of town with full schedule and no computer so missed voting, but I believe the best of the seven was chosen. Group-brain proves its competence once again! Thanks Nathan and kudos to Emily.

Linnea said...

Nice going Emily! A spider in the piano, eh?

Colorado Writer said...

Thanks for the nail-biting fun!

Congrats Emily!

writtenwyrdd said...

Congrats to Emily.
I find it interesting how the tastes of your readers vary.

Sophie W. said...

Congrats, Emily! Are you going to tell us what's in that piano?

Lauri Shaw said...

Cool - I nailed it. That paragraph really had me interested in the rest of the story.

I'd love to see more! Maybe Emily will send me her first page?

www.laurishaw.com

McKoala said...

Congratulations, Emily and thank you to Nathan and May for the fun.

Maripat said...

Congrats, Emily!

Emily Ryan-Davis said...

Thanks for votes and congratulations! :) This contest has made my whole month.

The character in the first paragraph is Thumbelina (self-named Tina). Her relationship with the prince went sour years and years ago, and a jealous sorceress cursed her to forever in the belly of a Steinway. Tina has come to enjoy life inside a piano. She does not enjoy the arrival of Francis Ryan O'Grady, the piano mover who drops her house down a flight of stairs and shatters not only the Steinway, but also the sorceress's spell. The last thing she ever counted on was starting all over again, back at the beginning with Frog.

I'll see what I can do about putting a few pages somewhere. The whole story is still floating around at a random 3k-word mark and isn't complete.

Eden Bradley said...

Yay-congrats Emily! Awesome entry!

Josephine Damian said...

So, Emily, this is a short story? Do I have that right?

Cool premise.

Southern Writer said...

Congrats, Emily. Well done.

Emily Ryan-Davis said...

Josephine, it started out as a short story. Whether it remains short is largely dependent upon factors like my impatience to write The End, and the willingness of my imagination to stay on track. I got to the current point about two months ago and had to put it aside for some other tasks (edits, a deadline book, busy season at work). My crit partner is pushing for longer. I'm going to revisit the story at the first of the year, once I have my paranormal serial trilogy and edits for my holiday anthology story all wrapped up, and see where it takes me.

I confess to being that kind of writer who gets too taken by an idea to set it aside and consider possibilities BEFORE I start writing it.

Emily Ryan-Davis said...

Thanks again for congratulations. :)

Dwight's Writing Manifesto said...

Sorry Emily. I was in bed sick yesterday. I missed the party.

Belated congratulations.

SzélsőFa said...

Congratulations, Emily, I'm joining the 'I would like to read further'-clubbers here, too.

Emily Ryan-Davis said...

For those of you who wanted a little more, I've posted a first page on my blog. :)

http://www.emilyryandavis.com/blog/

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Emily! :-)

And thanks to everyone who contributed a paragraph.

~Nancy (who's too lazy to log into her blogger account)
http://writerlystuff.blogspot.com

Neptoon said...

Aloha Emily,

Nice imagination and nicely done!

To further sweeten the Winner's pot of treasures Nathan is giving you...I would like to add one free surf lesson on the north shore of Kauai next time you are on island.

Aloha nui loa

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