Announcing our “Make It Golden” Contest!

The Ruby Sisters’ blog will celebrate its FIRST birthday September 21st. We can hardly believe it. Time does fly when you’re having fun. To celebrate we’ve decided to have a contest. Yippee!  We’re calling it the Make It Golden Contest.   Grand prize is your Golden Heart entry fee.

We want to thank all of you with a big Tin Man heart for being faithful followers and offer an incentive to polish your Golden Heart entry.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Monday Tuesday September 21st, we will accept one hundred FIRST lines of a romance manuscript. We will close to entries at midnight. Any words past that first sentence period or posted after midnight and the Wicked Witch of the West will DQ you. And that doesn’t mean you will be going to Dairy Queen.

Why Make It Golden? It’s a Scarecrow no-brainer.  All the Sisters believe openings are key to finaling in the Golden Heart. The opening is the most important part of the book. It has to grab the reader, contest judge, agent and editor immediately and force them to keep turning pages and reading. If you attended any of the agent /editor panels in Orlando, you got an idea of how important agents and editors think openings are.

With this contest you get the chance to see how your opening grabs The Ruby Sisters. Show us what you’ve got. Does your story start in black and white or brilliant Technicolor?  The Sisters will read the first lines and choose ten finalists. Those ten will then give us MORE of the story, starting with the first sentence, and continuing with the next consecutive lines up to a MAXIMUM TOTAL of 250 words.  We will count.  Anymore and… you guessed it… you will be DQ’d and maybe have to contend with a Flying Monkey or two.

Tell your critique partners and chapter mates. Polish, polish, polish; make every word count.  Don’t be a cowardly lion, follow us down the Yellow Brick Road as you Make it Golden.


This contest is open to anyone eligible to enter the Golden Heart. Ruby Sisters are not eligible.

There is no entry fee.

Contest opens 12:01 am EST September 21st.

Contest is limited to first 100 entries.

Contest closes 11:59 pm EST September 21st.

Enter the first sentence ONLY of your manuscript by posting it as a comment on the blog. At the top of your comment, type ENTRY in capital letters. On the next line enter your first sentence.  The Ruby Sisters will select all finalists.

Ten first-round finalists will be announced on the blog 12:01 am EST Monday September 27th.

Those ten finalists will have the rest of the day on Monday September 27th (until midnight EST) to post the remaining words of their expanded entries.  Again type ENTRY in caps and post, along with your first sentence, the expanded entry.  TOTAL words may not exceed two hundred fifty.

Not much, we know. Think having us read those two hundred fifty words and say “man, I’d love to read more of that.”  This is exactly what an agent and editor do.

The three winners will be announced on the blog Tuesday October 5th.

First prize -Golden Heart $50.00 entry fee paid.

Second prize- $20.00 B&N gift certificate.

Third prize- Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Journal

Prizes are as stated. No cash substitutes.

No feedback on entries will be provided.

The Sisters are multi-published, in print and e-book. We are PAN and PRO. We read and write in all genres. We are trained judges. We have finaled in and judged many contests.

We are Golden Heart winners, finalists and Good Witches.

39 responses to “Announcing our “Make It Golden” Contest!”

  1. Elise Hayes says:

    The opening line is so important–it can set the mood, it can grab the reader by the throat, it can make you want to see more, more, more.

    I can’t wait to see the entries on the 21st!!

  2. rita says:

    Great beginnings introduce the story conflict and entice the reader to turn the page. No backstory for me. I’m happy when you drop me into the story where the action begins.
    This is going to be so much fun. Can hardly wait for the 21st.

  3. Elisa Beatty says:

    Spread the word everybody! But remember, the first 100 entries ONLY qualify.

    I’m excited to see what we get, too!

  4. Tina Joyce says:

    Yay! I can’t wait to see the entries.

  5. Laurie Kellogg says:

    The date is WRONG. It’s either Monday the 20th or Tuesday the 21st. I know this because Monday is my birthday and it’s been on the 20th for . . . I’ll let you guess how many years. This needs to be changed ASAP.

  6. Kim Law says:

    It should be Tuesday the 21st. That’s our birthday.

  7. Beth Langston says:

    I have a blog I follow (Story Sleuths) that analyzes fiction–and their post today is about Narrative Hooks and First Lines/Paragraphs. Although it is geared toward children’s fiction, the concepts definitely apply to all writers.

    Also, here is an article (actually, notes from a speech) by Cheryl Klein (YA editor — such as US continuity editor for Harry Potter books 3-7): although geared toward children’s fiction, CK can help everyone become better writers:


  8. Elisa Beatty says:

    Whooops! I go update it to say Tuesday right now. Sorry!

  9. Gwynlyn MacKenzie says:

    In today’s lexicon, when something or someone is Golden, they are a sure thing, a winner, the coat tails to ride on (if you’re into that sort of thing.)

    A first line is an introduction, and if it’s Golden, it’s sure to do what all writers want–entice the reader to join him or her on the story’s journey.

    So I hope everyone puts their best out there. No pasteurization here; the cream will rise to the top!

  10. I’m so excited about this contest! The prizes are unbeatable for the amount of work involved to enter.

    As for what makes a great first line, let me say that it’s all about CONFLICT. The very best first lines imply or outright state a central conflict of the novel, or at least inform the reader that all is not normal in this world. Very often, great first lines are boldly stated facts about the novel’s world or the main character. Most are spoken in a clear, distinct, and strong voice.

    For example, a few classics:

    It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. – George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

    It was a pleasure to burn. – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

    You better not never tell nobody but God. – Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982)

    He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. – Raphael Sabatini, Scaramouche (1921)

    Who’s there?
    – William Shakespeare, Hamlet

    • Hope Ramsay says:

      A few more:

      It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

      It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

      Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. – Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850)

      Call me Ishmael. – Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)

      I love the classics…

  11. rita says:

    What about some Sisters first lines?

  12. Darynda Jones says:

    This is so fun!!!

  13. Well heck I can’t pass this up. 🙂

  14. […] romance manuscript to our Make It Golden Contest and you could win the GH entry fee. Skip to the blog for full details and […]

  15. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Vanessa Kelly, CC Allden. CC Allden said: Writers – win Golden Heart Entry fee: […]

  16. Jeff Salter says:

    Is THIS the blog on which we will post our first “line” (i.e., first complete sentence … up to the first period) beginning at one minute past midnight?
    [That would be 12:01 a.m. Tue. the 21st]

    Or will there be a new, separate blog just for that one line contest … on which we will post our entry?

    Not trying to dense, but I can’t see *where* I’m supposed to BE at 12:01 a.m. Tues. morning.

    • admin says:

      There will be a fresh new post going up at one minute past midnight just as Sept 21 begins. The entries should be entered as comments on THAT post, NOT this one. The rules will be repeated on that post as well.

      Thanks for asking!!!

  17. Stephanie says:

    Hi there! About the contest, is it the first line or the first sentence we’re supposed to enter? What if the first line is made up of two sentences or the first sentence is really two lines? Am I reading too much into the instructions? Is that the Wicked Witch of the- ack! Disqualified!

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I’m not affiliated with the rules folks, but the way I read it: it’s the first complete sentence up to the first period. That could be two or more lines of text.

  18. tyler olson says:

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