Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Okay, critters! Tear into the three excerpts below...

You're not going to hurt anyone's feelings.

Both excerpts are from a novel's first few paragraphs; a classic "Are You Hooked?", as it were. Read them, decide whether they "work" for you and why.

Is the writing good enough to pull you in? Is there a "hook"? If so, what is it? If not, do you want to read on anyway? Why or why not?

Each one is written by a different author. I'll give credit later.

Okay, go for it! I'm ever so eager to read your critiques.


  1. I haven't had a chance to read them yet. Maybe tonight. Is this like a test or something? My stomach is already getting jittery at that possibility.

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  3. Not a test! Just some fodder for potentially deep and enriching conversation. :)

  4. Authoress...you are so clever! :-)

  5. Whew! I was having a flash back to grad school . . . and I'd rather not. Not that I didn't love grad school with all that biochemistry and physiology and stuff. But you know how it is. Looking forward to checking them out tonight.

  6. I had a flashback to college on at least ONE of the subs...

    I'm dying from curiosity about one of the others. Because I actually want to read it.

  7. This is a great exercise! I'm enjoying it not only to see what's out there but to see the same thing through other writer's eyes.

    I don't know what your plan is with this other than to stimulate discussion, but perhaps this could be turned into a regular "novel opening workshop" event. Maybe each month, have a submission period and then accept the first 20 people who submit a 250-500 word excerpt from their novels. Each week, submit 5 anonymously for crit.

    If we have fewer to crit each week, perhaps more will be willing to do so. I really do think 250 is too short but 500 words would be a bit more meaty for critters to chomp into. Or even better -- since many agents ask for the first few pages of the novel, we could start one of those so that participants read the first three pages and crit them.

    Just a thought.

    People would have to be brave. :D

  8. So, was I right in thinking these are published works? Because I definitely recognized #2 and if I'm right, I'm still not into it at 150+ pages in.

    And if these *are* published works, I'd love to know what book #3 is and I was totally hooked!

    Thanks for a great exercise, Authoress!!!!

  9. I do know what #1 is but will leave it up to Authoress for the dramatic reveal. Even though I know what the rest of the story is (I haven't read it...but have picked it up a time or two in the library but haven't felt compelled to check it out yet) this intro just leaves me cold. There's no 'there' there, for me...as though it's something I'm reading because I've been told it's good but for the life of me can't understand why. Which, come to think of it, describes a great deal of the stuff I had to read in school...

    I still don't understand how you can attempt to market something to that age range and immediately present the reader with a 'perfect' protagonist...how can they relate?

  10. I just discovered this site the other day and I'm fascinated. I agree with Writeaholic - a little more of the story, two or three pages, would be great.

  11. Great exercise, Authoress! I found your blog something like a week ago and you continue to amaze me.