Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First Paragraphs

One of the agent blogs I follow is hosting a first paragraph contest. I love contests, so I submitted my best first paragraph (I think) which happens to be from Trauma Queen. TQ is the novelized version of my ambulance days (years, really - all seven of them) with my smart-aleck voice and lots of growing up. Today is the second day of the contest which is open to entries for four full days. There are over 1,000 entries already! OMGosh.

I have no delusions of winning, or even being read very much, but I like to be brave and put myself out there now that I know how to do it. My style does not lend itself to an attention grabbing first sentence or paragraph usually. I'm okay with that. As long as you can set up some kind of interest in the early going, I think you have a shot.

The amazing thing is how many are soooo good! I keep going ohhhhhh, I want to know how that comes out. It lets me know how really keen the competition is for shelf space and that good enough - won't be. My writing will have to be spectacular to be published. Or I could be lucky. I'll take lucky too.

So here's my contribution for your reading pleasure:

It's a strange business. I provide care to the sick, the injured, the dying and the insolent unharmed. The phone rings or the radio calls, and suddenly we dash off to a stubbed toe, or six people dead on the freeway. It's kind of hard to prepare for that; hard to come back to normal from life lived at ninety percent boredom and ten percent sheer terror. My next career will be something that looks pretty and smells good. For now, I’m a trauma queen. It’s like being a drama queen, only messier.

I don't think it's the best thing I've ever written, but the contest rules included no angst, so I took that to heart.

Thank you Nathan B. for hosting a fun contest and taking on all the work to wade through what may end up being 3,000 entries. That's right. I'm predicting a cool 3,000. He's silly. But what a great way to get writers to read each other, support each other, and maybe, just maybe, some very lucky (and good) writer will be discovered. I will be sincerely happy for that author. Even if it's not me.

Jo Taylor

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