The exact time the winners of round one would be announced had been leaked on twitter, but I had no way of getting to a computer. As it's Tuesday, and Tuesday is our no special (gym, art, library, music) day, there was no way to escape twenty needy six-year-olds to look over the listings. 1:30 came and went, and I couldn't stop wondering. Curiosity is a terrible thing. It eats at your nerve. I sweated it out and was astonished to see my name. I'm very grateful and relieved to have made the second round. There were many fabulous entries submitted by talented writers. I'm glad to be among them.
Now we get to include our first 250 words from our manuscripts as our Sinkers. Then we'll be re-scrutinized and further cut down to groups of ten per genre with ten extra favorites. That makes a total of forty entries which go into the third round. Then the wonderful and intelligent agents will ... But that's wishful thinking and getting ahead of myself. First things first. The Sinker.
I wanted the Sinker to end with a hook. Something to make readers want to see what happens next. I picked the best hook sentence in my opening page, then pruned a bit until the block of paragraphs fit into the required 250 word limit. My finished rough draft landed on exactly 250. That seems like a good omen.
I call it a rough draft because I'm hoping for suggestions and ways to improve. Please shout out if you there are any typos. If you see a way to tighten the flow, let me know. (Ha, a rhyme ) Anyway, here it is, my Sinker:
Edit: Some changes made.
The magic anklet jangled against Little Bit’s leg with every step, an irritation she couldn’t scratch at the moment. The over-full laundry basket occupied one hand while her other gripped the railing. The wicker handle balanced against her right hip, digging in with each stride. Creaks and shifts came from the wooden stair which wound in a spiral around the outside of the tower. She shuddered and kept her eyes fixed on the treads, careful not to look at the twenty foot drop through the gaps. Why did the tower have to be so high?
At last, she reached the square landing of oak planks. Hidden from prying eyes by the tower, she set down the basket and knelt to hike up her cotton skirt, embroidered with clover and their purple blossoms. A wink of gold glittered in the morning sun. The chain of delicate gold links clasped around her ankle, mocking her with its fragile appearance. Little Bit reached for the anklet, then chewed her lip, but like a sore tooth, she couldn’t resist probing.
She squared her shoulders before taking the chain in either hand, feeling its strange heat burn her fingers. A sting as though a thousand nettles increased with each pulse of her heart.
The tiny links refused to part.
With a gasp, she released it. Hateful thing. New burns crisscrossed over faded scars to cover her hands. She put sore fingers in her mouth. His magic would never let her go.