451 entries and counting! At least we have a slightly better chance against in the real world; I imagine it's rare that an agent receives 500+ submissions in one day.
About the critiquing flare-up: I'm really surprised that not everyone wanted critiqued by as many people as they could get. I entered Nathan's first line contest, and was thrilled whenever someone posted what they thought about my entry. But I can understand Nathan's desire to keep the contest fun. Besides. I really wanted to critique all the entries, remembering how much I liked the feedback, but I didn't have time to do all of them. This makes it much more manageable (I hope).
So I'm going to be offering my opinion of the entries by those who want to be critiqued, presuming I can find out who those people are. I think one of the best things about this kind of informal contest is the connections with other readers and writers.
As of 10:06 AM, the following people had posted on Nathan's site wanting a critique:
1. jordyn (#117) - I really liked the character's voice, I liked what I could see of the conflict- pretty sister vs. smart sister. But the whole entry seemed to be backstory. So far, nothing has happened in present tense. I'd also take out the paragraph about what she did as teacher's aide, it's a definite tangent and doesn't move the story forward. And I can tell you're going for a dramatic effect with all that buildup to the "Guys love Caris." line at the end, but even your character says she should have seen it coming. With all that talk about how beautiful Caris was, I think your readers will have seen it coming as well.
2. allen b. ogey - This one caught my attention yesterday when I skimmed through the first 30 or so entries, and was one of the entries I read all the way through. Still, your first line is a little cliche, I'd start with the second line. And I might object to the use of "bestir"- what farm kid knows that word? (I grew up in a farming community in MI). But you have strong characters, and I can see that there's conflict between the siblings- my concern is the likeability of the main character. I'm fine with his fighting with his brother, but when he pinched his own sister's butt I got a little nervous.
3. angela (#350 liar-ya) - Love your opening line! And I got chills at the end of chapter 1. Your character has an interesting voice, and you've created a strong picture of what their family was like and what it's becoming. This is really good. I'm not sure where you're going with it, but I would definitely keep reading to find out. Complaints: FiFi?? Yikes. It kinda fits with sibling fights, I imagine, but it sounds fairly stupid (my apologies if it was a real name). And the last paragraph at the end of chapter one didn't make any sense to me. I think you could take that out without losing anything.
4. beth (the read thread) - Fantasy! Yay! (Sorry, I'm biased.) I love this opening line as well. This is another one that caught my eye when I read the first thirty or so posts. Back when there were only thirty or so posts. I love the situation you've thrown your characters in, but the constant shifts between viewpoints makes this almost unreadable. My opinion is that you should stick with one POV per scene or chapter or some other sort of boundary. You might be able to get away with switching POV once in a scene if you stayed with the first person for awhile, then stayed with the second person for the rest of the scene, and you had a good reason for switching. This post at Ray Rhamey's Flogging the Quill site backs me up. ;-)
5. aimless writer - Ooh, is this the one from the pitch contest over on BookEnds where she saw the serial killer and got away, and had to help the police find him? Excellent! I loved that pitch. And this is a very well-written first page, by which I mean the quality of the writing didn't distract at all from the story. My only problem is that I didn't realize she was psychic until I saw your tag line at the bottom of the entry. I started wondering if *he* was psychic, and got a little confused about why she was panicking. But if I'd read the blurb on the back of the book and knew what I was getting into, that would clear up. I really like how you're explaining the killer's motivation. Fabulous.
I'll check Nathan's blog later to see who else is looking for critiques. So much fun!