Monday, August 31, 2009

First Line Fiction

"She told him with a little gesture he had never seen her use before."  - John Updike

Do those few words inspire you to write a short story? If so, you should enter the contest at This website is the brainchild of my friend Frank McDonnell. It was a dream that he talked and schemed about for years, and it finally became a reality after he left a great job in finance to pursue it. It's really inspiring to see someone you know actually do something they've always talked about wanting to do. So, please encourage anyone you know who loves to write fiction to visit the site and participate (right now there are only 4 contestants and the cash prize is $200). Here's more from the site about how it works:

"FirstLineFiction is a website dedicated to hosting writing contests in which the participants choose the winners. It is the aim of our contests to provide a fun and creative outlet to motivate writers of all levels.

Each contest provides a unique first line that participants must use to create and submit an original work of fiction of no greater than 3000 words by a specified date. Following the submission deadline, each participant is randomly assigned six anonymous stories to read and rank. Rankings take the form of a relative list, ordered from most to least favorite story. This feedback is then compiled to determine the contest favorites. Cash prizes are awarded to these favorites.

It is our view that the traditional fiction model does not do enough to facilitate the creation of short fiction. While some contests and publications provide a great selection of contemporary short fiction, they do little to promote the production of fiction from their audience. The process of submitting and being published may not utilize internet technology and the selection process is usually very guarded. Those that submit are often fulfilling a personal desire with no real expectation of success or constructive feedback.

FirstLineFiction offers a unique alternative; a contest that motivates writers with a first line, deadline, transparent evaluation and prizes. We believe this extra motivation assists writers in taking the difficult first step of participating in our contest and producing topnotch fiction. In addition, our evaluation process through peer review offers a level of transparency that cannot be found elsewhere. We believe that it is this accessibility that sets us apart."

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