Here’s the way this particular challenge works:
I’ll give a first line, and those who wish to accept the challenge will write what comes next–in 100 to 200 words–putting the entries in the comments section of this post. We’re not looking for a completed story, but rather for an intriguing opening of a novel or short story, though it is possible to write a piece of flash fiction within the word count, and any such entries will be accepted.
Visitors who read the entries will give thumbs up to the ones they like the most (no limit on the number of thumbs-up a person can give), and, if they wish, give a reply to the various entries, telling what particularly grabbed their attention. (Participants are expected to comment on at least three other entries).
After the designated time, I’ll re-post the top three (based on the number of thumbs up they receive) and visitors will have a chance to vote on which they believe is the best.
Once again I’m offering a $25 gift card (from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble) for the entry that receives the most votes (as opposed to the most thumbs-up). In the event of a tie, a drawing will be held between the top vote-getters to determine the winner.
Finally, those silly little details we all need to know:
* Your word count does not include the first line.
* You will have between now and midnight (Pacific time) next Monday to post your challenge entries in the comments section.
* You may reply to entries, giving thumbs up, this week and next. To have your thumb-up counted to determine the top three entries, it must be included before Monday, December 16.
* Voting for the winner from the top three begins in two weeks.
Feel free to invite any of your friends to participate, either as writers or readers. The more entries and the more feedback, the better the challenge.
[Edited: I've changed the font of contest entries to blue so readers/critiquers/thumb-givers can more easily find them.]
And now, the first line:
All Gem wanted was a quiet night at home, but she’d been warned that upper-level sages would have to make sacrifices.