1. This was really hard. Some that I liked the first round fizzled out with the second line. Others that were borderline first round really brought it home with their second line. And three votes just isn’t enough for all the wonderful entries!!

  2. susan dalessandro says

    I had a tough time narrowing it down to three, since there were four I really liked. But I think the sentences that are more concise, more to the point, draw me in. Suspense is also a key element in those first few sentences. Great job everyone!

  3. I agree with Nancy and Susan, so I won’t repeat. I particularly like the conciseness of “Hell’s Paradise”. There’s a lot of impact there in two short sentences. Loved it and will be adding that construction to my tool box. Thank you.
    On another note, knowing the work of some of the contestants, I’ve placed a wager with myself as to who the work belongs to. Why? That’s how distinctive the voices are in just two phrases. Well done.
    And thanks again, Bria, for organizing this for us.

  4. I didn’t think I’d change my mind after the first round, but adding a second line shifted my thoughts and desire.

  5. Second lines. Wow. It seems like nearly all the fist lines I liked fell flat on the second line. And many of the first lines I was so so on added a second line that by itself wasn’t spectacular, but partners with the first in a way that alludes to a very good story being spun.

    First person pretty much always puts me off, as does present tense. Stopped cold on esophagus, ruined the moment that was building. I initially liked Her Husband’s Mistress, even though many had commented on the long opening sentence. Followed by a second long sentence was a lot for me.

  6. Wow! This got even harder with the addition of the second line! Only three votes? *whimpers*

    Thanks Bria for offering this contest. It really is a great lesson in how every line matters! I’m learning a lot from both the entries and the comments. 🙂

  7. So funny that with the addition of the second line, I actually noticed entries that I completely missed the first time. I was like, wait, are some of these new? NO! It just becomes different when there’s more. This is a great exercise in the power of language and how our brains process words. Also? Makes me rethink things like tag lines and blurbs. Love this contest, thanks Bria. <3

  8. Me too – amazing what a second line can do. Plus, I have to say – so wish we had about 10 votes each. Really, so many great lines in both rounds, whether they are genres I usually read or not. And I’m sure I may change votes again in the next round. Can’t wait to see what happens.

  9. I’d meet Dorran in Temple Bar any time…

  10. What an amazing difference in some of the entries. The ones that continued with unexpected details kept my attention this time. I needed to have four votes, but I voted only for three. 😉

  11. I thought this would be easier not harder!

    So, I changed my votes around a little. I still love a lot of them.

    The NINJA one still intrigues me. I thought it would lose me with line two. But, the voice is really sucking me in.

    I didn’t know where Life Right Now was going, but the next line didn’t take the next step I thought it would, so still intrigued.

    Chime was cooler in the second round than the first to me bc we see the main character handle the gun like a professional, not back away from it. I just realized I’ve been assuming it’s a her….Now I’m wondering.

    I’m a sucker for chef stories, so Recipe for Love has my attention. The set up is good, but not as suck-you-on as some of the others.

    The two shifter ones definitely have me coming back for more (Red and Uncontrolled Hope) but UH kind of made me back away bc the human part made me wonder if it’s post apoc.

    Hell’s Paradise – it’s not typically looking like a book I’d read, but I’m loving the succinct open. And, the voice is so clear and consistent in this one too.

    Man this is so hard. There’s few here that I’d shrug off at all. Can’t wait to see line 3!

  12. Funny how much adding a second line can change my thoughts on the story. I didn’t think I would change my mind from the first round, but I ended up switching my votes. And I definitely needed to be allowed four votes. Three was way too hard. But I followed the rules. 🙂

  13. HIS DARK TEMPTATION sounds suh-weet! “Cursed every undying god he knew of” just sounds interesting, because I love things like that like mythology and the like. Also I like the name Dorran. Waiting for more!

  14. V. Walker says

    A COMPLEX SOLUTION & HELL’S PARADISE are pulling me in!

  15. Add me to the list of those who changed her mind with the second sentence. I was really surprised by this. I kept one from the first round, but found two new ones that drew my attention. For me, I’m drawn to openings that raise questions and keep me wondering. I like the shorter, snappier openings. Next to the shorter lines, I found the longer sentences to be tedious.

  16. What I think are good lines is more dependent on the genre than I thought. There are some genres that I’m totally not the audience for and though I recognize the quality of some of these lines, I’d be more inclined to keep reading something in my preferred genres.

    • Bria Quinlan says

      I agree – but then I’m also surprised. Ninja jumps out at me and I’m not a romance sci fi reader. So, it’s interesting to read just the lines and then go back and look at the title and genres. Voting feels very involved to me! LOL

  17. I guess I may have approached these second lines a little differently. I was looking for continuation of tone, for story to start building after the initial hook. Oddly enough, I think some of these entries are going to enter make-or-break territory with the third line so I was reading with that in mind as well– whose third line did I *really* want to see.

    And now we wait.

  18. Lots of inspiration here. It was hard to choose just three.

  19. I dropped two of my first line choices and went in a direction I didn’t think I’d go but was very intrigued by where the second line took me…actually more to the paranormal. I’ve discovered that I like lines that take me right into the action, although I’m neither a fan of first person, nor short choppy lines. As others have said, it was difficult to choose only three.

    I think this is a brilliant exercise in how to grab your reader and we’ll all learn from this. Thanks again, Bria.
    Good luck to all.

  20. I didn’t vote for Ninja. Yet Ninja is the one whose 3rd line I’m most curious about. I feel like the first two lines are a setup to a good punch line.

  21. 2nd lines change everything! I didn’t expect my votes to change as much as they did from the first round. To echo what some other people mentioned, a so-so first line really changed with the 2nd line and a great first line lost some oomph.

    Ninja did a great job building the suspense and continuing the theme. I don’t think I voted for it the first round (goldfish memory) but the building theme caught my interest.

    Regardless of the genre I am not a fan of anything too graphic. The shorter lines that gave me some good info caught my interest. Her Husband’s Mistress sounds like it could be a good story but the lines are too long to hold my interest. Anything with too much description gets me skimming rather than reading. Other lines like Ak-47 caught me by surprise the first round but lapsed into practicality with the 2nd line.

    Great job everyone, great entries!

    • Bria Quinlan says

      That’s so funny bc the second line of the Ak-47 won me over. The fact that it was like, Oh, ho-hum, another automatic rifle just sitting around the kitchen, I’ll just completely unarm it… do do doooo… Like, no big deal. 😉

  22. Second lines toik alot of these in unexpected directions. Knocked two former favs completely out of contention, and made a couple so-so into “what next”. Can’t wait for line three.

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