The 6th SUFPC finalists are…

by | Oct 21, 2019 | Contests | 65 comments

Nathan here! Keeping up with Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge tradition, I invited a special guest to announce the finalists. Please welcome Tom Wambsgans from HBO’s hit show “Succession.” No spoilers contained herein.

Wow. Uh, hi. Hello. Greg didn’t tell me I was going to do this. GREG! Why didn’t you tell me I had to do this, GREG?

Ha ha ha. Just kidding Greg, I won’t murder you until at least Season 4.

Well, it was such a pleasure reading these first paragraphs, I felt like I was eating gold caviar off the floor of a gleaming black yacht.

But holy cow, you all are a bunch of sickos! There’s so much death in these first paragraphs I thought I was on a Waystar cruise ship. I’m not going to lie, I kind of liked it!

One thing I couldn’t help but notice is that… one moment.

“What’s that, Honey Bunches of Oats with sugar on top?”

Sorry, Shiv is summoning me for her morning foot massage. I need to make this faster than Logan Roy’s first marriage. Wait. You’re going to tell him I said that are you? Please don’t tell him I said that.

First, congratulations to the honorable mentions! You all get 10 shares of Roystar Wayco stock, which will be worthless in no time at all due to the proxy battle! WELL DONE, guys!

Now let’s talk about voting. You are all members of the board, so if you’re ever in a hospital make sure to put Kendall Roy on the guest list.

In order to vote for the winner, please leave a vote in the comments section of this post. You will have until Tuesday, 7pm ET to vote. Do not email Nathan or any of the Roys with your vote.

There shall be no campaigning in private or public for yourself or your favorites, and suspicious voting may result in disqualification and being put in charge of the Cruises Department at Roystar Wayco.

Also: anonymous comments will not be counted. This is a board vote not something ghastly like American democracy. There must be an email address associated with your vote.

Now then. The five finalists are…

KS Karamchandani

Every traveler has a favorite part of the route. Some admire giant gaseous spheres in red and yellow. Others delight in the blinding brilliance of not so distant stars. Although Konstance has only seen it twice, her preference is for cerulean seas as they angle to enter the atmosphere. The sea reminds her most of home—of salty air and human contact.

Carrie Keyes

In the dawning pink light from the window, Javier Allende rests his pencil on the pine desk and reads his handwritten obituary. The swirls and loops of his handwriting reveal a journey he has traveled; a destination he feels prepared to meet. The feeling is nearly transcendental, as though he might be high above himself, staring down at the bald spot on his head. He folds his death notice twice and places it inside a pre-addressed envelope, dropping in a few pesos for publication costs. Sealing it, he sets the letter on the desk and looks down at the tan dog lying next to his lizard skin boots. The dog scratches itself; the odor of age wafts up from its hide.

Bobbi

We all begin in water, the warm slosh of the womb, but I believe it was the sea that gave me life, the frigid North Atlantic surrounding my island called Newfoundland, a jagged rock that rose from the depths into the cruel weather. My parents hailed from long lines of fisherfolk. My mother, a woman whose hands were rarely free from silver scales and slimy innards; my father, a man who lived his life combing the ocean for cod and died doing the same, he and his two brothers swallowed up by the icy black water when I was barely eleven. A tragedy in a town of six hundred souls, but hardly the first and certainly not the last seafaring misadventure to be borne. The sea takes what she will people were often heard to say. But before I knew loss, I knew only happiness.

Jessica L.

She spotted the column of smoke just as the sun was setting. Airis sat up with a jolt as she rounded the bend and finally left the scraggly forests behind. Before her stretched the Frostbed valley. And there, nestled in the valley like a pearl in an oyster, was a collection of red-tiled rooftops surrounded by tall, forbidding walls of white stone and iron. “It’s really here.” She nudged her long-horned yak, Munch, with the toe of her boot as a delighted laugh bubbled out of her chest. Munch pricked his ears and lifted his shaggy head higher. She’d found the impossible village of Darfas. It was even inhabited; she could see shadows moving beyond the reinforced gates and hear the distant, unmistakable sounds of people going about their day – the tolling of the evening bell, the crackle of lightning being summoned to light the lamps. Despite the maps denying its existence, here was Darfas, living and breathing as surely as she did. Her father had been right after all.

Marci Whitehurst

Momma waved a hundred dollar bill before my eyes–the cash we got for Brown Betty, our station wagon that coughed us into Seattle. Brown Betty died in Washington after moving us from California to New Mexico to Wisconsin to Mississippi, then Alabama and several states in between. Now, if Momma wanted to move again, it’d be up to the rain to float us away.

PLEASE VOTE IN THE COMMENTS SECTION OF THIS POST.

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65 Comments

  1. Lauren B

    My vote is for Marci Whitehurst.

    Congrats to all the finalists and honorable mentions. And there were a number of other entries I thought were great. Glad I didn’t have to winnow it down!

    Reply
  2. Win Reed

    Marci Whitehurst.

    Reply
  3. Geni P

    Marci Whitehorse. This entry was vivid, crisp & immediate. It grabbed my attention & made me want to read more.

    Reply
  4. Karen L

    Jessica L.

    Reply
  5. tony

    KS Karamchandani.
    Congrats to all!

    Reply
  6. abc

    Oh, Tom.

    These are all sooooo good!

    My vote is for Carrie Keyes.

    Reply
    • Transitoria

      Bobbi

      Reply
  7. Neil McCulloch

    Well, has to be Bobbi…

    Reply
  8. Bobbi

    I’m very happy to be a finalist! A little thrill today. Because I am sucker for seas of any kind, I cast my vote for KS Karamchandani.

    Reply
  9. Damhnait Monaghan

    “We all begin in water, the warm slosh of the womb..”. Love this. Right away I’m hooked. I vote for Bobbi.

    Reply
  10. Elizabeth Passarelli

    Marci Whitehurst for the win!

    Reply
  11. Martha Reynolds

    Wonderful opening paragraphs, everyone! You did what I didn’t have the guts to do. My vote goes to Marci Whitehurst.

    Reply
  12. Jacqui Jay Grafton

    Marci Whitehurst

    Reply
  13. Susie Orman Schnall

    All very compelling – congrats all! – but I vote for Bobbi: “We all begin in water…”

    Reply
  14. David Mellon

    All fine. But Marci Whitehurst is my pick.
    Love your site Nathan. Thanks for putting in the effort, buddy.

    Reply
  15. Donna

    I’m voting for Carrie Keyes.

    Reply
  16. Russell Buyse

    Marci Whitehurst. Clean and inviting prose. It wins on several levels, but “…our station wagon that coughed us into Seattle” was enough by itself.

    Reply
  17. Mary Rogers

    Bobbi’s opening lines were my fav, but I liked Marci’s first graph, too. Truth to tell, I’d happily follow both these writers farther into their stories and maybe even to the end.

    Reply
  18. Jana

    My vote is for Bobbi. Love the imagery.

    Reply
  19. Hywela Lyn

    They’re all so good – but since I can only vote for one, it has to be KS Karamchandani – I’d love to read more!

    Reply
  20. David Kubicek

    These are all good, but my vote is for Carrie Keyes. It’s the only first paragraph where I had a strong urge to read the second.

    Reply
  21. Sheila Lane

    KS Karamchandani. Thanks for honorably mentioning me, Nathan. I’ve followed your website for years and have recommended it to many. You are a friendly and informative force for good! P.S. I’m selling my Roystar Wayco stock, stat!

    Reply
  22. Susan M

    Bobbi is my vote, though it was a very tough choice between her and Marci Whitehurst. All terrific!

    Reply
  23. Oluseyi Onabanjo

    My vote is for Marci Whitehurst. Super cool voice.

    Reply
  24. Christine Coleman

    My vote is for Marci Whitehurst.

    Reply
  25. James Madara

    Marci Whitehurst was definitely the best. Each sentence was lean and didn’t need additional alliteration

    Reply
  26. Scott

    My vote goes to Bobbi

    Reply
  27. Richard Brewer

    Marci Whitehurst

    Congrats to everyone!!

    Reply
  28. Neil Larkins

    Marci Whitehurst. I’ve had many a car like Brown Betty. One named The Hummer Bummer Crashmobile.

    Reply
  29. Joy Blake

    I really liked all of them, but my vote goes to Marci Whitehurst.

    Reply
  30. Sarah

    Bobbi

    Reply
  31. Lisa MP

    Marci Whitehurst. This is the one that grabs me and isn’t overstuffed with worldbuilding and unfamiliar objects. I want to know these characters right off the bat.

    Reply
  32. Kim Harnes

    I had to reread the Honorable Mention list six times before my brain caught up to the fact my name was really on it!! I almost gave up on the project, but now have new hope it might be worth continuing. Thank you!!

    My vote is for Marci Whitehurst. 🙂

    Reply
  33. Deborah Halliday

    Marci Whitehurst!

    Reply
  34. Jaer Armstead-Jones

    Marci Whitehurst

    Reply
  35. KS Karamchandani

    Wow! I’m honored to be a finalist amongst such compelling and well-written first paragraphs. My compliments to everyone who entered and congrats to the honorable mentions and finalists. A special shout-out to Bobbi–obviously a kindred sea soul.

    Reply
    • Bobbi

      Sea souls gotta roll together 😉

      Reply
  36. Christina

    Marci Whitehurst

    Reply
  37. Rubianna Masa

    KS Karamchandani – nice writing. Of course, this is my loved genre, but I like the way you’ve approached this.

    Reply
  38. Chris Eboch

    Another for Marci W. This is of course largely personal taste, but that’s the one that made me want to read on.

    Reply
  39. Princesisto

    Marci! Marci! Marci!

    Wow! For one of the few times in my life I think I’m getting to vote with the majority!

    Reply
  40. Jennie

    Bobbi all the way!

    Reply
  41. Nate Wan

    Vote goes to Jessica L. Loving the fantasy setting and I wanna know more about the adventures of Airis and Munch!

    Reply
  42. Pam Carey

    I vote for Marci Whitehurst. Love the voice of the narrator and want to find out why the family was always on the move!

    Reply
  43. Jennifer Faragitakis

    Carrie Keyes 🙂

    Reply
  44. Debi O'Neille

    Marci Whitehurst

    Reply
  45. Pat Bloom

    While all the first paragraphs were mesmerizing, I was most taken with the one written by Carrie Keyes. Good luck on making a final selection!

    Reply
  46. Elise

    Jessica L.!

    Reply
  47. Carrie Keyes

    I’m honored to be a part of this final group of writers. Wow. Thank you to Nathan for the opportunity and to writing peers for excellent feedback thus far. It’s helpful to know what resonates with readers in choosing a favorite. All of the entries are riveting!

    Reply
  48. G.E. Sevenau

    Marci Whitehurst…and pretty bummed I only got to read the first paragraph. Hope to read the rest of it soon.

    Well done and good luck to all!

    Reply
  49. Abigail

    These are all winners but since I can only pick one, Bobbi’s grabbed me the most. I’d love to read more if this story.

    Reply
  50. Elizabeth Illig

    Congrats to all the finalists! My vote is for KS Karamchandani. I love the last line.

    Reply
  51. Mike

    My vote is for Carrie Keyes.

    All of them were fantastic! My choice came down to Carrie and Jessica L. as they both invited me into their world and made me want to read on. Well done!

    Reply
  52. Sarah

    Marci Whitehurst

    Reply
  53. M. Chazel

    I had two that make me want to keep reading and I had to pick Karamchandani! I like the descriptive details that accomplish a lot in tight but great prose — introduce character, orient me to setting, and a glimpse of the problem.

    Reply
  54. Eva Eden

    Carrie Keyes.
    When writing draws me in without the subject being ‘entertaining’, then something is going on that I want to know about.
    Thanks for organizing the competition Nathan – good fun.

    Reply
  55. Erin

    Bobbi for sure. Beautiful imagery.

    Reply
  56. Karl Bronk

    My vote is for Bobbi. A solid flow of thought, syntax, and feelings.

    Reply
  57. Marci

    So thankful to be a finalist! Thanks everyone! Great work everyone!

    Reply
  58. Bonnie Denmark

    My vote is for Marci Whitehurst.
    I can see why these all made finalists. They were all intriguing, but I’m a bigger fan of action than beautiful description. Marci told a ton of story in just a few words.

    Reply
  59. Laura

    Bobbi !!

    Reply

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