UK Meet - Competition and Novel Openings Question

UK Meet

At the UK Meet this weekend I am on the Novel openings panel. We are all reading out 100 words from the start of one of our novels and then I think there will be Q&A after.

I need to know which of the following three that I should use. These are my favourite openings but I am going to let you choose which one I use... the voting button is below...


I'll take everyone who votes and offer a signed paperback to a single winner drawn at random. Closes 11pm GMT on 3rd June.

One Hundred Words

Oracle (103 words)

When he was nine, Alex Sheridan, the boy with new parents and no memories, disappeared.

The bullying had started on hour one, of day one. The new boy with the curious accent and stilted English carried strange scars on his body. Some said he had gotten them in a fire. Others suspected that he had done them to himself. Alex never deliberately showed the scars to anyone, but physical education and the changing rooms meant even he couldn't keep all his secrets hidden.

There was a group of boys—bigger, stronger, and crueler than Alex could ever be—that made his life miserable.

The Christmas Throwaway (101 words)

"Hey! You can't sleep here."

Zachary Weston had closed his eyes and let sleep pull him under. Sleep came quickly, the sleep of the desperate man, despite the furious aching pain in his lower back. Ironically, the ice and frigid temperatures, while freezing his extremities, helped ease the aching.

Behind his eyes he saw a crackling fire in an iron grate, the red and gold flames casting a beautiful light throughout a room decorated for Christmas. A tree stood tall in the far corner, its sparkling fairy lights, colored tinsel, and baubles catching and glinting random colors.

"You can't sleep here."

Guarding Morgan (95 words)

"Twenty, one sixty-six, Altamont, western, black cat, lemon pie…" The words were on repeat in Morgan Drake's head, a litany, over and over, in case he forgot. His FBI shadow had drummed the words into him until he could repeat them in his sleep.

"Just in case, Morgan, okay? If there's any problem, you take these keys and the car I showed you in the next door basement parking, and you take Highway Twenty West onto the 166, head for Altamont, Western Street, find a bookshop called Black Cat Books. Someone will locate you there."

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