I was so pleased with the number of entries in this contest and with the interest level that they all piqued, both in myself and in the voters. There were quite a few paragraphs that I’d be interested in reading more of. My thanks to everyone who was brave enough to enter this contest. Bravo!
After days of conflicting thoughts and feelings, I settled on the three for which I would definitely request to see a full manuscript. But then it got really hard. First place and the two runners-up were so close that I went round and round with all three of them, trying to decide which one should be in which place. However, I finally settled on the which and why.
Therefore (drum roll please)
First Place: T. Lynn with Paragraph #13
This paragraph has such a strong sense of place. I don’t think anyone has done a better job of putting me into a scene so quickly. I am right there up on that pole with Slater. I know exactly where I am in history. The foreshadowing of the fury and the cold and the evil of the war is clear in the choice of descriptors. The only thing I can find to critique is this sentence: If Abraham Lincoln lived or died tonight, he wouldn’t hear about it over these lines. It’s a little awkward, but not so much that it popped me out of the scene. If T. Lynn can do dialogue and plot as well as she does the imagery in this paragraph, then this is a book I want to read. If I received this as part of a query, would I ask for a partial? No. I’d ask for the whole thing! Now, please.
First Runner-Up: Jeff Savage with Paragraph #22
Another really great sense of place, where I was right there with Kinion—holding my breath the whole time. I liked the counting down of the minutes. It added to the tension. So why did this get first runner up? Because I’m not certain what genre it is. I’m thinking it’s not a straightforward historical fiction. So either great latitude is being taken with history; or it’s an entirely different story with an entirely different set of gold plates and our LDS antennae are being toyed with; or we’re going to see a parallel history, similar to what Orson Scott Card did in the Alvin Maker series. Whichever, I’d like to read the rest.
Second Runner Up: W.L. Elliott with Paragraph #14
I loved this! We are right there with those flying ponies. That’s a cute idea. The dragon as guard dog has been done before, but this one has a unique humor to it. This paragraph was neck and neck for first runner-up. It barely missed because it really should be three paragraphs—but I’m glad she sacrificed her shot at first place and gave us the extra info. This is another one where I’d ask to see the whole manuscript based on just this much.