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Agent For A Day

    The Lunch by Diego Velazquez

The Lunch by Diego Velazquez

A funny thing happened to me this morning. I opened my mailbox and lo and behold there were over a thousand e-mails in my mailbox. No, I had not suddenly become popular on the internet. Instead the sudden accumulation of written messages came courtesy of the 4th Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge, where I had so proudly submitted my entry just a couple of  days before.

Suddenly, I felt like I was an in-demand literary agent, but alas the vast accumulation of first paragraphs was most likely due to a checkbox that I inadvertently filled, when I submitted my first paragraph to NB’s blog.

Still, before deleting the horde of text, I did take time to read a dozen or two of  the entries. In all honesty, I have to say that I was not impressed. I can’t imagine anyone reading through a thousand or two of these things, but I’m sure that there must be a few “diamonds in the rough”. Now I understand why Mr. Bransford left the agent business and consequently I have a hats-off attitude to anyone could can persevere in this endeavor.

As far as the content of the first paragraphs goes, there were a couple of things that struck me. Shorter is definitely better. Sticking together two paragraphs (which is what I did with my entry) is not going to be advantageous. Also, don’t write from the viewpoint of a dead person. About half of the entries I read, did just that – and although this technique did perk my interest a bit, it seems to be the opening-du-jour.

And to top the whole thing off, Nathan posted today about how he has enjoyed sorting through the mass of e-mails and seeing all the different ways there are to begin a story. And then again, yesterday’s post dealt with a similar topic on reading slush. All I can say is that reading slush is not for me.

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