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How Your Opening Paragraph Can Make You a Winner

Just in time for our spring critiques on student novel openings (first webinar is February 17) comes a contest from Kingdom Pen Magazine along a similar theme! In their words:

Kingdom Pen novel opening contest 2015Once upon a time, in the vast and colorful world of Cyberspace, there was a magazine. This online magazine was by no means typical. The staff underwent a couple of face changes along the way, but this little magazine was determined to rise atop the surface of the tumultuous Cyberspace waves.

The name of this steadfast domain? Kingdom Pen; a magazine kept afloat by teens and young adults all striving toward one common goal: to write for the glory of God, changing the world bit by bit with their novels, short stories, poems, and articles.

On February 9th, Kingdom Pen issued a challenge to all teen writers in the world of Cyberspace:

Who can write the best novel opening paragraph?

Why all the extravagant attention to the beginning of a novel? Is the opening paragraph really all that important?


For in that one small paragraph lies the power to either engage or disengage your reader.
Imagine this for a moment:

It’s there in your hand, clasped between your fingers, the smooth spine pressed against your palm. The synopsis on the back cover promises a thrilling and engaging story; you expect it to deliver. Settling into a comfortable position, you prepare to be rooted to your seat. Excitement courses through you like a steady stream of clear water.

With hurried fingers you crack open the front cover, bypassing the title page, acknowledgments, and even the introduction. You get to the first page and gobble the words up with an insatiable appetite. As your brain comprehends the first line, then the second, disappointment begins to settle over you. Nearing the end of the first paragraph, your excitement has now dwindled to a small mud puddle, flowing nowhere. This is absolute rubbish! you think as you (gently) toss the book aside, disgust stagnating around the diminished mud puddle of excitement.

Perhaps your experience hasn’t ever been this dramatic, but you have more than likely been through something like this. You probably even made a note of the author’s name to be sure you would never encounter such a disappointment again. The rest of the novel might have been excellent, but you couldn’t force yourself to continue.

My brethren, this ought not to be!

Your opening paragraph should be intriguing, fill your readers with questions, and propel them to hungrily read on, desperate to find those answers.

Oh, and did I mention that you can win up to $100? For more detailed information concerning this contest visit the Kingdom Pen website:

Two weeks; you have two whole weeks to send in the novel submission of your choice.
Will you accept this challenge? Will you pick up your inky sword and wield it with creative strokes?

Kingdom Pen has issued the challenge, will you accept?

kingdom-pen-logo-sept-13-gAbout Kingdom Pen:

Kingdom Pen is a small, free e-magazine encouraging teens to write well, write purposefully, and to always write for Christ. Our goal is to encourage teen writers to flood the world with stories that shine the light of Christ and share His truth.

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