Miss Snark's First Victim
First sentence is too cliche, even if it is true. And something is too vague. A hulking shadow? A pin? Something could be anything.I'd probably read more to see where it went, but I'd want to be wowed really soon.
I'm iffy. I'd probably give it a few more sentences, but I'd need something fast, especially given the genre.
Not entirely hooked.... Suggest cutting the "But I didn't and". <- It's unnecessary, because the way the first sentence is phrased, we know that the protagonist did not blink.
Iffy. If the 'something' were more succinctly described it'd help me judge whether I'm in for a surprise or a let down.
Not quite hooked. Using past tense in the first sentence minimizes the tension and impact.
Not hooked. Felt very choppy..I would have. But I didn't.
Liked it. Would read on a few more paragraphs at least to see if it was going to be cliche or not.
There was something about the writing I didn't like here. Maybe the "but I didn't" part? Not sure. Ugh. I hate the 25 word limit because I hate to say I'm not hooked when the next sentence may very well hook me. But... I guess I'm not hooked.
For those intrigued enough to read just a tad more, there's a brief excerpt here.
I'm interested, but I agree with the comment above about "but I didn't." I'd suggest going straight to "something fell from the rear deck..."Still, I'd read further.
I feel like a variation on the last sentence might make a better opener, something like, "Something fell from the rear deck of the opposite ferry; If I'd blinked, I would have missed it."Hooked, but I think it could be a little stronger.
almost hooked (as in enough that i'd keep reading but not hold my breath).
need to know who's speaking before I care about anything on a passing boat. Not hooked
I don't like 'something' in the second sentence. Was it a package? A child? A gum wrapper? Did it fall overboard or did someone push? I'd read on, but not sure for how much longer.
Sorry, not hooked.I agree with Vicki — I want a clue! What fell? That could DEFINITELY suck me in n' keep me reading! ㋡
not quite sure. I would probably read a little further, though.
Not fair. I've read the first chapter already and know I'm hooked. However, I don't think the first 25 words does the rest of the chapter justice. However (again), I'm not sure it needs to - though it's an interesting exercise.
I don't like first person narratives...but this is a good opener.
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I know it's hard to sit on your hands for this exercise, and I can definitely (definitely definitely) understand your impulse to do the whole I-have-an-agent-shout-out......but try, try, try to refrain. It kind of defeats the purpose of the exercise (and no, I'm not Authoress. I'm one of the other entrants. And I'm staying anon on purpose for this comment only). Think of it as zen practice.
Let me rephrase: I assumed the commenting is pretty much over at this point, and left a note to a commenter I know who has read the first chapter. The purpose of the exercise for me was to see how quickly people get hooked (and the instructions for this suggest that this is indeed the purpose here.) In my case, most apparently don't get hooked until the next few sentences. Which I can live with, for many reasons (or you could email me, Anonymous). This in no way lessens my appreciation for people taking the time to make responses.
Ah, I see where you're coming from now. Thanks.
From these first two sentences, I've made a guess at what's fallen from the ferry. I'd carry on reading to find out if I'd guessed correctly.
I don't like the title but I did like the opening.
Thanks for reading and commenting, guys. This is from my novel, LEARNING TO SWIM, which is being published by Shaye Areheart Books/Random House in February 2011. It was fascinating to me to learn what hooks and what doesn't hook people, but in real life I think readers don't set a book down after 25 words (unless they're execrable!). Here's the rest of the opening: If I blinked, I would have missed it. But I didn’t, and I saw something fall from the rear deck of the other ferry. It could have been a bundle of trash; it could have been a child-size doll. Either was more likely than what I thought I saw: a small wide‑eyed human face, in one tiny frozen moment as it plummeted toward the water.PS I checked with Authoress and my agent before posting from book under contract. Thanks again, and those of you who weren't hooked, I hope you would be by the end of that second paragraph!
A little more specific about what the "something" is, even with an unoriginal opening line, might help. But not hooked, sorry.
I didn't comment on this originally because I was mostly sticking to YA, but yes, I'm hooked, and not just because this is published. :) If you're giving away what "the thing" is in the first two sentences, then, imho, your timing is off and you don't see the value in making readers wait for certain things. Readers don't mind waiting for information when they have a whole book in front of them. That's part of what keeps us reading. I think this is an excellent start and after reading the first paragraph, I can't wait to read the book!