The rules and conditions for inclusion in our anthology “An Open And Shut Case”:

1. There is no entry fee, nor will there be any remuneration for any entry.

2. ALL profits from this project (and this means – in the case of the first, digital edition – ALL sales) will be donated to Save The Children.

3a. Each entry should be between 1,000 and 3,000 words long and consist ENTIRELY of first and last lines of FAMOUS books (fiction and/or non fiction), the more easily recognisable the better. (The aim is to make them as enjoyable as possible for the reader: NOT to impress La Gr@not@ with your intimate knowledge of obscure texts.)

3b. This will, of course, mean that a LOT of famous opening/closing sentences will be repeated in the anthology, but we hope that this will add to the fun: to see how different literary Frankensteins stitch together the same sentences in different orders to produce VERY different storylines!

3c. If you take the average length of an an opening sentence to be 20 words, you only need 50 to reach the lower limit. EASY! The longer the entry, the more evidence of your skill at this game. (Just sayin’.)

3d. Your entry should – of course – make some kind of sense, not be all over the shop with non sequiturs and contradictions.

3e. You may use creative punctuation, e.g. !!!, ?!, add (or remove) speech marks (in order to turn narrative into dialogue or vice versa), etc.

4. If you include sentences from a foreign-language ORIGINAL (let me make this quite clear: NOT a translation into that language), you should also include its [official, if possible] translation into English, within parentheses, (). BOTH sentences count towards your total.

5. For the sake of coherency, proper names within an opening/closing sentence may be altered to correspond with the rest of your creation, but the substituted name should be displayed between square brackets, [], e.g. “Last night I dreamt I went to [Treasure Island] again.” This applies to any of your sentences EXCEPT your first one, which must remain unaltered; and the substituted name need not appear in an original opening/closing sentence.

6. Although we believe that (a) MOST writers would feel honoured to have their work chosen for inclusion, and (b) only an ARSEHOLE would sue (for copyright infringement of a single sentence) a struggling writer and an independent publisher trying to raise money for Save The Children, there are unscrupulous, greedy misanthropes in the publishing world, so you’re asked to use sentences in the public domain. Generally, this means either from common-right books (which tend not to be famous) or from books by authors who’ve been dead for at least 75 years.

7. You are NOT allowed to use opening/closing sentences from your own (nor your friend’s) work: neither a Work In Progress, nor a published novel.

8. For the time being, there is NO deadline. Once La Gr@not@ deems that enough material has been submitted for a decent anthology, we will give a fortnight’s warning – here and on Twitter – that entries will no longer be accepted after that date. This means that NOW you’re not working against the clock, but that you MIGHT be – rather desperately – whenever that warning is sounded.

9. Completed submissions ONLY should be sent to the e-mail address featuring near the bottom of the image appearing below. Please do NOT type out this address anywhere on Internet, or we’ll be flooded with bot-generated spam. We’ve already had to abandon several e-mail addresses because of this. So DON’T. You may give friends/followers a link to this page’s URL. (The image was designed for Twitter, so not all of it applies here. The Twitter page can be found here.)

10. Any questions should be either posted in the reply boxes below or as replies to that Twitter page.

11. Submission of your entry implies your acceptance of these conditions and rules.

Finally, 2 bits of advice: (i) There are plenty of web-pages which list varying numbers of famous first lines, so use search machines to find them. (ii) Have a wander around this WordPress site to see what else La Gr@not@ is getting up to. The covers of a few of our forthcoming publications can be seen here, and a list of WIPs here.

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