Word of the day: exculpate - to clear from a charge of guilt or fault; free from blame; vindicate.
I am only sporadically getting my word of the day emails now, and that makes me grouchier than usual, especially when I have to go look them up on the website. Like, what? Not cool, dictionary.com, not cool. Why don't you try exculpating yourself by telling me what the deuce is up with your email serv.
So Nathan Bransford, agent extraordinaire, is having an awesome content over on his blog: The 3rd Sort-of-Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge! (I added the exclamation point in a moment of squee) You post your first paragraph of your best story and if you win awesome things happen to you. I've already posted the first paragraph of my WIP (which you can go see if you so desire), but I wanted to comment on something I noticed in all of the other 300+ entries so far.
There is a lot of dying going on in the first paragraph of people's stories. I mean, A LOT. Of the 200 or so that I've skimmed through so far, I'd say a good 150 have somebody dying, talking about dying, doing the dying, doing the killing of the dying person, reminiscing about someone dying, or getting prepared for some dying. The first few entries I read I thought maybe a murder mystery writers group got together and submitted their paragraphs all at once; fine. But when it kept happening, and it started crossing into all genres (dead babies in chick lit, dead wives in man lit, dead serial killer victims in suspense thrillers, dead siblings in sappy coming of age stories), I got a little worried.
People, what is this mass obsession with death? I mean, I've been to quite a few funerals in my day, but most of them were pretty much expected, and it certainly wasn't the cause of some grisly murder or a magic demon hunter from another dimension (almost pretty sure about that last one). It was such a common theme that I started to skip an entry as soon as I hit a dead person. The Lovely Bones these were not. I might have had a dead person story rolling around in my head somewhere (Lifetime movies-style, natch!), but I will definitely put the kibosh on that one. Yeesh.
Go check out the contest entries for yourself, and if you can stomach the blood and putrid flesh, there are some good ones in there. My personal fav (besides my own of course, shameless plug!) is the one about the black boy who returns to his hometown as a white man. I want to know what is up with that one, fo sho.