Nathan Bransford, Author


Friday, October 16, 2009

The Finalists! (as announced by Dwight Schrute)

UPDATE: VOTING IS CLOSED!!

Hey all, if you don't watch the American version of The Office then this might not make sense. Thanks to Cory Clubb for inspiring the idea.

Greetings. I am Dwight K. Schrute, Assistant Regional Manag... fine, Assistant to the Regional Manager, Dunder Mifflin Scranton.

I have been... you haven't heard of Dunder Mifflin? Ugh. Hello? It's only the third largest paper supply company in the Northeast Metro Region. Have you heard of paper? You probably don't even know the difference between a dagger and a throwing knife.

I have been asked how a human being could read over 2,500 paragraphs in a few days while also having a job.

FACT. I am not a human being. I am the Scranton Volunteer Assistant Deputy Sheriff.

Okay, fine. I'm human. But soon I will officially be a wizard in training. I recently accepted an invitation to attend wizard school, and it was left on my desk by Dumbledore's apprentice himself. All I have to do is make my own wizard costume and wand and arrive at work to be transported to Hogwart's for training. The first spell I will learn is demoting Jim to Assistant to the Assistant to the Regional Manager. The second spell I will learn will be to turn my hands into claws.

Choosing these paragraphs was difficult. Very difficult indeed. None of the paragraphs involved Battlestar Gallactica and I was forced to rely on other criteria. Such as: perfection. Or as close to perfection as a paragraph could be if it's not about the different species of bears and their genetic superiority to humans.

Writing a good paragraph is much like making a lovely beet stew. It must have the right amount of spice. It must not be overcooked or undercooked. Too much blood can overwhelm the natural umami of the beet. It must bode well for the roast rabbit entree and make you hungry for more. It must feel authentic and have a fine consistency. No one likes instant beets or other cheap tricks.

While judging this contest I made a unilateral decision to announce the individuals who made the longlist with their first paragraphs. These individuals win a free night's stay at Schrute Farms and honorable mention (in chronological order):

David Kubicek
L. T. Host
T. Anne
Chuck H.
mythicagirl
Barbara Sissel
Miss Tammy
Jenny W.
John Askins
Bill Baynes
John UpChurch
Kate Johnston
Billy
Henriette Power
Kerri Ladish
Cat_d_Fifth
Vanessa
atsalem

Congratulations. I will spare you the next time Michael lets me fire someone.

The ten individuals below are the finalists. They win a weekend's stay at Schrute Farm, a year's supply of beets, and a 90 minute Swedish massage by my cousin Mose. He's practicing for his massage license.

In order to vote for the winner, please leave a vote in the comments section of this post. You will have until Sunday 6pm Pacific time to vote. Please not e-mail me your vote.

Also: No campaigning for yourself or your favorites out there on the Internet. Don't make me bring out my nun-chucks.

Because I expanded the number of finalists, I'm afraid only the top four runners up will receive the prize of query critique and signed THE SECRET YEAR bookmark (if you're in the US). The grand prize winner will receive their choice of a query/partial critique or phone conversation, and a galley of the incredible THE SECRET YEAR. When I read it I cried. Then I captured the tears and dried them to use for Schrute Farm table salt.

Anonymous comments have been closed.

The finalists (in no particular order):

Josin L. McQuein:
Time works different in purgatory. I'm absolutely certain of this. Sure, they call it Geometry and there's a man in slacks at the front of the room instead of some red guy with a pointed tail and pitchfork, but it's still torture. And after forty-one minutes of equilateral something-or-others getting mixed up with isosceles what-cha-ma-call-its , I want to strangle myself with a hypotenuse.

Alanna:
You imagine time flowing backward, back upstream. The apartment door swings open and the messenger from the lawyer’s office comes into your living room, loads up the boxes onto a dolly, and leaves with them. The dust falls out of the beam of light from your window and settles back on the scarred wooden floor. The boxes wait again in the corner of the lawyer’s office. In the hospital, long wiry hairs suddenly lift up from the musty pillow, reimplant themselves in your mother’s dented skull. (The abiding image, for some reason, is her hair at its healthiest: dark glossy coils of it. You had a dream recently that you came home and found it winding like a rope around dream-lengthened hallways, and you followed it with the growing sense that what it would ultimately lead to would be unfamiliar, not really your mother at all, some demonic reverse Rapunzel, and yet nevertheless propelled forward, as though someone were tugging at the other end.) Eventually she sits up, combs her long hair, more hairs returning from the brush to her head. Doctors remove the morphine drip. Her flesh puffs back into firmness. She leaves the room, sucking the sick air into herself, drives to the office to retrieve the boxes. At home, she opens one and takes a sheet of paper. Ink flows from cramped cursive on the page into her pen; words into her brain. Her thoughts curl once more inside her, unform themselves into vague image, memory, piled heavily atop each other like drifts of snow. As you back into her house at the end of your visit, she tells you she thinks it will be all right. That you can go.

K and A:
Adelaide walked swiftly along the street, past the pirate who didn’t own a ship, and the Scot who’d never been to Scotland, and the librarian whose home didn’t hold a single book. Contemplating her own strange circumstances, Adelaide realized she was absently twisting the ring on her finger. As she gazed thoughtfully at it, a bright flash of light reflected off the largest diamond. Turning to the source of the illumination, Adelaide watched warily as the light began to fade, and finally blink out, leaving in its place a New Arrival. The young woman, not distant in age from Adelaide, wore a tight body suit of unearthly hues, and clutched a sign that read, "Peace Not Plasma!" But it was the woman’s eyes that captured Adelaide's full attention, for they were bewildered, confused… and fearful. Adelaide understood; she had worn the same expression herself—the day she'd Arrived.

M:
My name is not Mara Dyer, but my lawyer told me I had to choose something. A pseudonym. A nom de plume, for all of us studying for the SATs. I know that having a fake name is strange but trust me, it's the most normal thing about my life right now. Even telling you this much isn't good for my case. But without my big mouth, no one would know that a seventeen-year-old who likes Death Cab for Cutie was responsible for the murders. No one would know that somewhere out there is a B student with a body count. And it's important that you know, so you're not next.

Jackie Brown
The masked girl was back at the screen door. The smooth mahogany full face mask was sculpted to her face, its carved slots allowing her eyes access to witness what sat before her on the other side of the door. Like a small brown-skinned ghost, she had appeared and disappeared throughout the long day, each time pressing her hands and hidden face against the ragged screen straining for a better view, each time stinging her fingers on the sharp shards jutting out around the holes in the sorry screen. She snatched her hand back when pricked, shaking it in a finger-whipping motion, sucking the offended fingers to lessen the sting of the tiny wire splinter, all the while never taking her eyes from the small veiled figure sitting in the middle of the floor.

miridunn:
Her mother told her a bed was for three things: loving, sleeping, and birthing babies. She had not warned her that a bed is also for holding new babies, cold and blue, against an aching breast, moving them from the safeness of the womb to the frigid air they will never learn to breathe. She did not warn her that in her bloodied bed she would witness the worst kind of death – the death of her soul; the loss of her children. But now she knew -- for the third time.

Travis Erwin:
Coming-of-age stories are often fraught with symbolism, hidden metaphors, and a heaping mound of other literary devices. Not this one. I came of age while working at a dusty, Texas feedstore. A place where To Kill a Mockingbird involved a twelve-year-old and a BB gun. Of Mice and Men was a problem easily solved with rat poison. And David Copperfield was nothing more than a dude that made shit disappear.

Simon C. Larter:
It was one of those painfully trendy restaurants staffed by skinny hipsters in tight jeans and shirts that left nothing to the imagination, and she had brought me here because she knew there would be many opportunities to make me uncomfortable. We were seated by an effervescent pixie of a girl with long blonde hair and a bright smile who asked if we were from the area or just visiting. Margot said that we lived in the area but had heard nothing but good things about the food here and simply had to try it for ourselves. “My husband likes his food, as you can tell,” she said, and laughed. The pixie’s grin froze on her face. She wished us a good evening then pressed through the crowd of bodies at the bar and headed back to her station by the front door. I didn’t watch her go. Margot was looking at me with a smile on her lips that could have chilled every martini for a three-block radius. Her eyes were bright and very hard, and it had been three days since she found out about my addiction.

Lisa Marie:
Philip had cleaned and put away the wine glass that had her mauve lipstick print. He collected the half used make up jars that littered the bathroom counter and recycled the glass and plastic containers. He donated her clothing to Goodwill and dispersed her jewelry evenly between their two daughters. He even gave her African violets, in their cheery hand painted terracotta pots, to their neighbors. Yes, Phillip had removed nearly all the remnants of his deceased wife from their home. He hoped that the great cleaning, as he referred to it, would ease his depression and overall feelings of despair and hopelessness. Yet there still remained the grocery list on the refrigerator. Her loopy cursive letters in black ink floated on the page like a secret poem he could not decipher. The list had items that Phillip did not recognize. What on earth was she going to make? He needed, more than anything, to find out.

Maya / מיה:
The pomegranate seeds burst between my teeth, releasing tart-sweet juice. The wind licked my eyelids, and the orchard rustled and creaked. I relaxed into the fork of the tree. In that moment, nothing mattered-- not marriage, not exile, not my mother's pursed lips. Persia became smaller than the nub of bark digging into the back of my leg.


Congratulations to the finalists. Almost as impressive as achieving a purple belt in Goju-Ryu karate.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to set off some fireworks.

More about the picks and thoughts on first paragraphs on Monday!






819 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   1 – 200 of 819   Newer›   Newest»
pippa said...

I was all excited to vote for Vanessa (which was my personal favorite) until I realized she only got an honorable mention. That's the book I want to read. Ah... vote... Alanna. Unless I can add in an honorable mention vote.

JNG said...

My vote goes to Josin L. McQuein

lucidkim said...

M. is my vote

Gina Choe said...

My vote is for "M". Sounds like a great start to a YA thriller.

MeganRebekah said...

Congrats finalists!

My favorite was miridunn

I read hers earlier this week in the comments section and it really stuck with me.

Nathan Bransford said...

Hey all, it was extremely difficult to decide how to structure the voting - choosing among such good paragraphs was an incredibly difficult job.

While I knew people probably want to vote for some of the honorable mentions (or others) because they're really good, I thought it might be too unwieldy to have more than ten finalists.

So please vote for one of the finalists, but it would be great to also recognize some of your personal favorites - there were way too many good paragraphs for me to single out.

Thanks so much for participating in the challenge!

Dominique Dobson said...

Maya!

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

They are all wonderful. My vote goes to miridunn. I wanted to cry over that one simple paragraph.

Nathan - I still don't think you're human.

Phyllis said...

Vote for miridunn.

word verification: story. Can you believe that?

Melanie Avila said...

Congrats to all the finalists! Nathan, you boggle my mind.

I vote for Travis!

And just because, my second & choice is Josin.

Jacqueline said...

I vote for M. cos 'I dont want to be next'. Great work!

Jessica said...

Great choices! They were all pretty amazing, but I think Travis Erwin's is my favorite. He gets my vote.

Suzanne Young said...

Loved this one! Josin L. McQuein

Kim said...

Travis Erwin (?) I can't see the page for the spelling of his name. The one about the feedstore with the literary references.

John Peterson said...

Miridunn.

macaronipants said...

Jeez. How do you pick? They are all so good in their different ways.

I'll go with Alanna.

lynnrush said...

I cast my vote for: Josin L. McQuein

Great job to everyone who submitted, and thanks Nathan for the contest!

Kasie West said...

Congratulations to all the finalists and honorable mentions.

I vote for Travis Erwin.

One that didn't get mentioned that I really liked when reading through was Steve Axelrod. So good job Steve for making your paragraph stick in my head. :)

L.J. Boldyrev said...

I liked a few of them, but my vote goes to M.

Helen said...

miridunn!

Mungus said...

The one that makes me want to find out what happens next (desperately) is Jackie Brown's.

Emily said...

Josin L. McQuein.

Definitely. M is good too though!

Thanks Nathan! It was fun!

www.justcallmeflemmily.wordpress.org

Gabby said...

Great contest and congratulations to all the finalists.

I'm voting for miridunn - good job!

dcamardo said...

miridunn

Nicole Lorenz said...

I vote M.

Congratulations, finalists! All of these were engaging to read.

Jacque said...

I'm voting for M, but they all were great. :)

Eric said...

Congrats to all, thanks to Nathan, and a vote for M.

Sharone said...

Bravo to Nathan, and all the finalists. Each of these paragraphs is wonderful.

Having said that, since I have to choose, I vote for Alanna. :)

Good luck, everyone!

Merry Monteleone said...

My vote's for Travis Erwin.

I liked a lot of these, though and there were so many great entries, it's killing me that I can't read the rest of the stories.

Great job, Nathan! Get some sleep now, or you know, recharge your alien robot batteries or something... I'd be exhausted after all that.

Willow Cross said...

Congrats everyone! And Nathan, thanks so much for hosting this contest!!

Although all were well done, my vote goes to Josin L. Mcquein.

Teresa said...

My vote goes to miridunn.
Congrats to all the finalists!

Saundra Mitchell said...

I vote for M.

sue laybourn said...

Really, really tough to choose, but I've got to go with Miridunn...brilliant.

Congrats to all the finalists and honorable mentions and thanks for the contest, Nathan.

Bobbie said...

My vote goes to Travis. I love the voice.

Joann said...

miridunn - absolutely stunning!

Congrats to the finalists!

T.S.C. said...

Travis

Maya / מיה said...

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! (Ok... deep breath...)

My vote is for miridunn. This paragraph jumped out at me when I first read through the entries, and I was spellbound by the masterful way the narrative unfolded in just one paragraph. The book sounds devastating but beautiful.

Merry Monteleone said...

One that didn't get mentioned that I really liked when reading through was Steve Axelrod.

Me, too!!!! I was sure it was going to make the finals - so, great work, Steve. I'd have kept reading for sure.

Erika M. said...

Travis---this one cracked me up. Good job finalists!

Calli said...

My vote goes to Josin L. McQuein.

The contest's been a blast. Thanks for running it, Nathan!

Bane of Anubis said...

Congrats, everyone and Thanks, Nathan.

I vote for miridunn.

annerallen said...

Wow this is tough. But I'm going to say miridunn, because it stayed with me after I first read it on Wednesday.

I'd like to read all these books!

Cat Moleski said...

Alanna

Jenn Lidster said...

I vote for K and A's paragraph.

Nicely done, everyone!

justinistired said...

One for Travis.

Sandra said...

I vote for K and A.

Amanda Hannah said...

Great finalists!
I vote for M. Very intriguing opening.

Xiexie said...

My vote is for miridinn. I do love Travis's too. Good job guys!

word verification: distic -- when distant simply isn't available

Liberty Speidel said...

Thanks for the opportunity, even though I didn't get picked. Oh well. Better luck next time, right?

I vote for M.

Terri said...

*whew*, good thing mine wasn't on the list (it would mean the apocalypse had arrived.) ;-P

Of all the finalists, Josin's was the only one that didn't have me skimming to the end. So, that one gets my vote.

congrats finalists and honorable mentions.

Amalia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle Schusterman said...

This is HARD. Wow, what awesome entries.

I'm going with M. Love the voice, soft spot for YA. But damn...these are all amazing.

Dara said...

Miridunn gets my vote. I nearly cried reading that!

Vijaya said...

I loved several of these, but the one that will stay with me a long time is Miridunn's.

Carolyn B said...

I vote for Jackie Brown, although I also loved 2 or 3 others.

Holly Bodger said...

I vote for Josin L. McQuein.

kays said...

And the winner is Josin L. McQuein, or at least should be! Great contest.

Christine said...

I vote for Josin.

Thanks!

Amy Sue Nathan said...

My vote is for Travis Erwin!

Amalia T. said...

Tough Call!
These were definitely all excellent.
My vote is for K and A.

Mr. Hook said...

My vote goes to Simon C. Larter just because I want to find out what the husband's "addiction" might be. Travis Erwin made me smile. Congrats finalists!

jonathandanz said...

Congrats to the honorables and the finalists. Travis Erwin gets my vote.

Kim Harrington said...

They are all so good!

My vote goes to Josin L. McQuein.

Cory Clubb said...

My vote goes to M.
Great opening it really draws you in.

Thanks Nathan for the contest.
Keep up the great work.

Backfence said...

Miradunn? ... Travis? ... Miradunn? ... Travis? Tough call, but in the end, I can't deny the way Miradunn's paragraph continues to tug at my heart - so I vote for:

Miradunn.

Ink said...

My vote is for Alanna.

Great paragraphs by all the finalists. Hope everyone had fun! Off to read the longlist now.

Catherine said...

Maya gets my vote.

wishy the writer said...

I vote for Travis Erwin. Great one!

Mira said...

Congratulations to everyone! I love that you included honorable mentions, Nathan - I haven't seen you do that before. Spread the glory. :)

I liked them all - alot. And really, to make this list after 2600 entries - I think everyone here should be unbelievably proud.

So my vote - if I had to pick - Maya's.

Patrice Michelle said...

I vote for M. Very intriguing!

Get some rest, Nathan!

Jeni said...

I vote for "M" (although miridunn was a close second).

Dick Margulis said...

Alanna gets my vote. Travis Erwin gets my if-it-weren't-for-Alanna vote.

Kat Sheridan said...

Congrats to all the finalists. My vote goes to Josin. The others were really lovely, but felt overlong for opening paragraphs. From the unchosen, I most liked the offerings of Jack and Lucidkim.

Tiana Lei said...

All of them were great! Nathan--you're amazing! My vote goes to K and A. :)Congrats to all the finalists.

Tina Spear said...

my vote goes to M

Casey McCormick said...

Congrats to the winners! Man, this is hard. I'm ripping my hair out trying to choose.

I'll have to go with... Travis Erwin.

I loved T. Anne's entry. I'm so glad hers made mention.

Thanks for an awesome contest, Nathan!

Erica said...

Congrats everyone! Thanks to you, Nathan for the contest...

Travis gets my vote :)

Jill Murray said...

Maya all the way!

K. R. G. said...

Travis Erwin.

I would keep reading now on nearly all of them; Miridunn's would have to wait until I was ready for a good cry.

Kris said...

Another vote for M, with Alanna as a close second. I really needed to see a bit more of Alanna's to decide, which sounds strange since it was very long. But it has the potential to launch into either an intellectual mystery/thriller or something slow and introspective. Without knowing which, I gave the edge to M.

Miles said...

Miridunn!

Lady Glamis said...

I enjoyed all of these! Congratulations to everybody!

I vote for Lisa Marie.

I've already read it about 20 times. Lisa, I want to read your book!

abouttothunder said...

I choose Alanna.

jjdebenedictis said...

Travis Erwin!

Of the long list, I also really liked John Askins' and Vanessa's paragraphs.

Congratulations to everyone who got a mention!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

M is my vote.

Kay Farish said...

Thanks for all the reading, Nathan! Probably need a little Visine this morning,huh?

I vote for Lisa Marie! I want to know what is on that list!

Winter Hansen said...

Like pippa, I got very excited about an honorable mention (Chuck H. to be exact, though Cat_d_Fifth rocked too), but I will cast my vote for Travis Erwin.

Congratulations to all!

Stephanie J. Blake said...

Travis Erwin

Anissa said...

Congratulations to all the finalists!

I vote for Travis.

cottoncostumes said...

Travis

Stephanie Denise Brown said...

My vote is for Alanna. The movement of those words were the perfect flow for the action as the scene flowed backwards. That takes some skill and I definitely want to read more.

My second vote (though I'm sure I can only vote once) would be for miridunn. That one's got me hooked, too.

Congrats to all the finalists and honorable mentions! :)

Vicky said...

Simon C Larter for the best ending hook of all. I hope Simon sells the novel because I want to know all about the addiction.

Lady Glamis said...

Also, Alanna, your's gave me goosebumps! I wish we could vote for more than one. :)

Amanda said...

Congratulations to all the finalists!!

My vote goes to Josin L. McQuein!

Homeskillet said...

This contest got my ideas flowing for my current WIP, and so, thanks for it and for letting me be an honorable mention. Considering there were over 2500 entries, that's humbling.

In any case, my pick is miridunn for capturing something almost ineffable with such ease.

John UpChurch

Stacy McKitrick said...

I vote for Josin L. McQuein.

Sara ♥ said...

Congratulations to all the finalists!! I vote for miridunn (so sad)

Skeptic said...

miridunn :)

Sharon Mayhew said...

My vote goes to Lisa Marie.

Jassy said...

Miridunn

(I also loved Simon and Maya)

Kristi Faith said...

Congratulations to all!! I think I'm going with Simon C. Larter :)

Natalia said...

I vote for M.'s paragraph.

Jessie Oliveros said...

miridunn

Ryan Crafton said...

I vote for miridunn.

The paragraph left me thinking the story could be taken in a dozen different, intriguing ways and made me wonder what path the rest of the story would take.

Michael said...

As much as I want to, you really can't feel bad about not getting picked after you read the selections you made. Thanks for hosting the contest Nathan - I hope there are more in the future!

My vote is for Maya. It's a gorgeous paragraph, in my opinion. But I really like pomegranate.

I also liked Simon's.

Sherry Way said...

My vote goes to Travis but I love Maya's too.

Arwen said...

Alanna.

Jeanette Harvey said...

Wow, this is a tough call--they're all great! I'm going to vote for Miridunn. It's a beautifully written paragraph, sucks me in right away, and makes me feel empathetic for the main character.

Btw, love the delivery of the announcement by Dwight Schrute. Hilarious!

Congrats to all the finalists...

Roanoke RnR said...

M

PaintWithWords said...

congrats to all the finalists!

This was an easy choice for me. One paragraph really stood out and make me want to read on.

miridunn

christicorbett said...

Nathan,
My vote goes to miridunn
Christi

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Travis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Derek Osborne said...

Shit, Nathan, I'm humbled to have been beaten by better openings.Wish I knew the age of the voters.

Allana gets my vote.

Close by are Travis and Maya.

Best to all.

L. W. said...

K and A.

Loved Travis's as well.

Dorraine said...

M. I so want to read that book!

Congrats to all!

AM said...

Maya - I could taste the pomegranate and feel the wind.

Congratulations to everyone.

Amanda said...

Josin L. McQuein!!

Loved it!

DCS said...

Give me an M.

Annie Louden said...

I vote for Jackie Brown. I feel like the book could be about anything, and I want to know what kind of story it is.

Bryan DeBusk said...

I vote for Alanna.

Stephen Parrish said...

Travis Erwin

LindaBudz said...

Great stuff! Congrats to all the finalists and almost-finalists! Interesting that there were a couple that spoke directly to the reader ... I wonder if that is becoming more in vogue?

Anyway, I am voting for M.

Bridgid Gallagher said...

Congrats to all of the finalists!

My vote is for Travis Erwin.

I loved Maya's paragraph as well, it came in a close second.

Thanks for the contest!

bridgidgallagher.com

Cosa Bella said...

My vote is for Travis!

Barb said...

They are all outstanding, but vote goes to Simon C. Larter. A great hook.

Betsy Hammer said...

My vote goes to Simon C. Larter. He created three believable people, each with their own personality and motivation, in only one paragraph. Very well done.

Here are a few of my favorite entries that weren't chosen; though I don't know all the names:

Martin- the very sharp knives (this paragraph kept me up at night with envy)

Chad- in medias res fist fight

The man who hates raisins

Eating the urinal cake

Super tall Gus

Plastic army men battle reenactments and the damned microwave

Congratulations, finalists!

James said...

Alanna.

Sheila said...

Wow. Nearly every one made me want to look for the book. Nicely picked, Nathan (and Dwight). Um... I picked Josin as my favorite, although I really liked Maya, Travis, and M as well.

Amy H. said...

Congratulations to the finalists. Your paragraphs were all "grabbers".

My vote goes to Travis.

Thanks, Nathan, for hosting the contest.

Simon C. Larter said...

I recuse myself from voting, but will now go and pour a stiff drink in celebration. Since I'm at work, though, it'll have to be coffee. The scotch'll be later.

I still think my paragraph needs work, though. It doesn't count at this point, but I blogged my next-day reconsideration of the paragraph over here.

Congrats to all the finalists (and the long list too)! Great stuff, folks!

Rebecca said...

I vote for M. ... thanks for hosting this contest, Nathan!

Strikethru said...

Nathan, I think you really captured the Schrutian tone.

Vote: miridunn. Her paragraph caught my eye when I was scanning the entrants.

Well, better luck to me next year ;-)

Adam H. said...

Vanessa's was one of my favorites.(although honorable mention)

Travis is my favorite among the finalists.

I was surprised that the ones I loved the most weren't picked.

Donkey said...

My vote goes to Josin L McQuein, which I've decided is a pen name. :-)
Note: I've seen a bunch of her stuff on AW, and it's always unique and clever. She's going places.

Hilabeans said...

Travis Erwin. Loved it!

Thanks for such a great contest.

hhs

Sarah N Fisk said...

I vote for K and A

Laura D said...

I vote Jackie Brown.

Jason said...

Congrats to all finalists and honorable mentions.

If I've got to select just one, I'll pick Josin L. McQuein...this one caught my attention as I was reading through the original posts.

Congrats!

Aimee States said...

Alanna! That was heart wrenching.

Cat Woods said...

I just want to say congrats to the finalists. Many of these openings have me drooling for the rest. There's some great character intrigue here. Way to go and good luck!

Justine Hedman said...

Hmmm, I really liked Travis, Maya, and A and K... Maya's discription and set up was great. A and K sound like they've got a story that I would enjoy, and Travis's voice is capturing...

I think I'm going to have to vote for...

TRAVIS!

Congrats to all you guys though! Great Contest Nathan Thanks soo much for all your hard work and keeping us on our toes... the last few days have been great fun!

*though you could've picked a better TV personality.* :)


Justine

Sheppardde said...

Josin L. McQuein is most definitely my vote. To be fair though they were all quite excellent!

Jena said...

miridunn, hands down. What a wrenching opener! I would buy this in a heartbeat.

JaneyV said...

My vote is for Travis - loved the voice and humour!

Congratulations to all the finalists and to those who received honourable mentions. Lots and lots of fantastic writing.

Thanks Nathan - for a great contest for proving what a wonderfully generous masochist you truly are.

thoughtful1 said...

Jackie Brown. Awesome!

Maryann said...

I vote for miridunn, just awesome.

Lucy said...

Josin L. McQuein


Nice one! But dang, they're all pretty good. Nice work, folks!

Dave F. said...

My vote goes to :
M: My name is not Mara Dyer,

John Askins said...

Alanna's engaged my heart as well as my mind. Beautiful writing.

Rhonda said...

I will cast my vote for Travis Erwin. I'm a Larry McMurtry fan, and I felt this teasing at that potential.

Regan said...

Congrats to you all! How special to be picked out of so many submissions!

My vote is for Josin L. McQuein.

I'll have to go check out the honorable mention paragraphs now. :)

Sam Hranac said...

It really is a tough call, but I'm giving mine to Travis Erwin.

Natalie said...

My favorite is miridunn

PatriciaW said...

Travis, Josin, and miridunn stood out for me. I vote for Josin L. McQuein

Kristin Miller said...

Wow, those are great paragraphs! I'm voting for M.

Merc said...

I vote for Josin L. McQuein.

Congrats to all the finalists. :)

Jen said...

Travis Erwin is my vote.

Jenny W. said...

My para was an honorable mention! HOw about that? I feel like Barack Obama on the morning of the Nobel announcement - surprised and humbled.
Thanks!

(Just a note: rather than scrolling around to locate all the honorable mentions, maybe list their day and time?)

My vote goes to Jackie Brown because the paragraph had some intriguing imagery that really drew me in.

My second place vote (in case anyone cares) goes to Alanna.

Shell said...

Josin L. McQuein

Mim said...

My vote is Travis.

Marc said...

miridunn

L. T. Host said...

Thanks so much for making me an honorable mention, Nathan. You made my day... and my week. I am humbled.

I vote for Josin!

TerriOsburn said...

These are amazing. Wow! Congrats to all. I'm torn between two, but I'll have to go with Travis Erwin.

Shannon said...

Wow. These are great--very unique. Alanna and miridunn both wrenched my heart, but I think my vote has to go to Travis Erwin. I like the curt, brusque voice and the dry humor. I want to know more!

Ken said...

Travis.

Awesome.

Shakier Anthem said...

What a great crop of entries! I vote for Alanna's paragraph, which went the extra mile to blow my mind.

(Special mention to Simon C. Larter, whose book I'd also totally want to read. Now *that's* how you show rather than telling.)

Kristan said...

Several good ones, and congrats to the finalists and honorable mentions!

My vote goes to Josin and Travis.

Alicia A said...

Way to go finalists. They are all so good. Although I love the voice in Travis', my vote goes to M. because that's a story I need to know more about.

Travis Erwin said...

Wow! I already feel like a winner. Thanks to Nathan for taking such an endeavor and to all of you whop have voted for me or commenting how much you like my words.

I want to wish all of the other finalist good luck and cast my vote for K and A.

Anybody that knows me realizes I'm a sucker for pirates and librarians and with both int eh first line it's bound to be a great tale.

Jami G. said...

I vote for Josin. I love the voice on that one.

K and A was also intriguing and I'd like to read more.

Thanks for this Nathan!
Jami G.

Leis Draven said...

Alanna, followed closely by Lisa Marie, K&A and Miridunn.

They're all great picks though, well done everyone! I also enjoyed Pippa's entry.

Thanks for playing, Nathan, it was fun!

Bill Greer said...

Travis Erwin

Samir said...

I vote Maya

I also liked Miridunn's one a lot.

Laura Martone said...

Wow, this is really tough. They're all interesting - they all make me curious about the story that follows. I love Josin and Travis's compelling voices, for instance, and K and A's first line, but ultimately, Lisa Marie's paragraph made me want to read her story right now! So, ahem, I vote for Lisa Marie.

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Absolutely loved the announcement style!

My vote: miridunn. Strong writing. I want to read that book!

My honorable mention: Maya

~ Wendy

JeniontheFarm said...

FACT: Dwight Schrute is my hero

My vote is for Josin L. McQuein.

They were all good paragraphs, but Josin's was the one 'voice' that jumped off the page at me.

Congrats to all!

dee said...

I vote for TRAVIS!!! Tell it like it is !!

Janet Johnson said...

M. is my vote

rps said...

Amazing variety. Well done, everyone. Some grabbed me, some didn't.

I vote K&A.

R

Christy Lenzi said...

Travis Erwin

Ha! It's perfect.

AR Travis said...

Alanna's tale, then Maya, both of them speak of originality.

PurpleClover said...

They're all terrific!


I vote for Travis Erwin.

(I think I'd give him a contract just based on that first paragraph.)

Rick Daley said...

I vote for Alanna.

Karla said...

Simon C Lartner gets my vote.

I thought miridunn's paragraph was amazing, too, but I ultimately chose the one whose story I would be most likely to purchase.

Deb@RGRamblings said...

Travis Erwin.

spinney said...

Travis Erwin

linda sarah said...

Travis Erwin

onefinemess said...

I'm torn 3 ways, so I'll let the tiebreaker be the word "shit". Travis Erwin gets my vote.

Anne said...

I'm for M.

writerlass said...

My vote is for Maya.

Cate's Folly said...

K and A

Gulbrandsen family said...

I vote for M!

R. A. Mare said...

Another vote for M.

Although I liked Simon Larter's, too.

Christy said...

These are great!
My vote is for Maya / מיה

Q said...

I'm for Josin L. McQuein.

If you don't want to count all these votes by hand, you could start a poll in the sidebar.

RCWriterGirl said...

For me, it was a tossup between miridunn and Travis Erwin. But, in a competition between dead babies and wicked humor, I go for the dead babies (I know, I'm sick. I need help).

One vote for Miridunn.

Teresa said...

Josin L. McQuein gets my vote.

CKHB said...

I vote for M.

Congrats to the finalists and honorable mentions!

Kyle said...

Travis Erwin.

James said...

My vote goes to miridunn. :D

(Oh, and the obligatory SMASHING MY COMPUTER SCREEN IN FURIOUS ANGER at not having been chose. I'll neve forgive you for this, Nathan! Never!)

Whew! lol

Seriously, good job everyone.

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