If you haven’t already entered the 4th Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge, please do so in the official contest thread! Win partial consideration by Catherine Drayton and a signed ARC of JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW!
I’ve blogged before about how helpful it is to read slush to get a sense of what works and what doesn’t work, and to gain an appreciation for the difficulty of making snap judgments on a huge number of different works at once.
But short of getting a job at a literary agency, what’s the next best thing? Reading contest entries! The quality is similar, the experience of jumping from one world to the next is similar, and while after your first fifty the paragraphs may blur together, you’ll notice the good ones really standing out.
So I’d encourage people to go through the contest entries, see which ones are your favorite, and then think about why they’re your favorite.
There’s a lot to learn from having to decide which ones you think are the best.