Let me say that What's Your Line? was the hardest contest I've ever had to judge, period. The talent you folks hit me with was mind-boggling, and it took me a full day to narrow it down to the finalists. Then I couldn't decide between two writers for one category, so we have a tie.
But there must be winners, so here we go:
Winners for the Most Intriguing Line (Tie):
"While the most powerful nation in the world guarded its borders against dark men with explosives hidden on their bodies, death arrived in the form of a little girl with big brown eyes - and a slight cough." -- Samantha Gossett, Twilight
Samantha, your line was beautifully written, well-balanced, lyrical, timely -- and absolutely chilling. As I hit those last four words, I swear the hair on the back of my neck stood on end. You've also created a line to grab the attention of any type of reader, which makes editors drool. Go hug your kid, she was right on the money with this one.
"Being a mortician meant my relationship with each client lasted approximately 3 days, they didn't communicate with me during their stay in my establishment and they didn't come back to visit once our business was concluded." -- Claudia Moore
I liked the sophistication of your line, Claudia, as well as your word choices. It's exactly the sort of language I'd expect a dignified mortician to use, and it delivers the hook with a elegant wallop. I've even got a mental picture of the narrator, which given the total lack of descriptive words makes you something of a magician.
Winner for the Most Humorous Line:
"There are two types of people living in North Hampton; those who believe Andy Vick is guilty of murder, and Andy Vick."-- Arthur
Arthur, you've got a lot going here with this one: a strong intro to your story, a friendly, conversational tone, and a stand-up comedian zinger of a punchline. I also laughed out loud reading it, the litmus test of all humorous lines.
And the Winner for the Best Line in Contest:
"Now that I was actually in a dungeon with a dragon, the whole idea seemed a lot less appealing." -- Birthday Pirate
Above all, a great opening line should make me want to read the story, and even as anti-dragon as I am at the moment, Birthday Pirate grabbed and owned my attention with this line. It's simple, intriguing, and laugh-out-loud funny. It's also a rock-solid hook; of all the lines in the contest, this was the one I kept coming back to read. Well done.
Our four winners should e-mail LynnViehl@aol.com with your book wish, your full name and ship-to address so I can get your prizes out to you. My thanks to Gabriele for coming up with the idea for this contest, and to all the talented writers who participated.