Comment to 'Feedback on reworked Chap 1'
  • Hi Rebecca - thanks for posting this for us to read. First chapters are notoriously tricky to get right.

    There's some nice writing in this chapter and I particularly like the image of her self esteem fitting in a small change purse while her class mates would fit in a swag bag. But I'm not convinced you're starting your story in the right place. For me, these three pages are over packed with four contending potential hooks. And yet none of these hooks offer any particular personal peril to your main character.

    First hook we have is that a girl has disappeared. But it happened months ago and is unconnected to Eleanor. There's no suggestion it might happen again and could just be a runaway girl. So it's a bit of gossip and no threat to the main character.

    We learn that Eleanor has joined this new school mid-term, has been forced there by a step father, isn't happy and has no friends. This gives lots of potential for angst, but at the moment is just setting. There's no big threat.

    Eleanor has a plan to go to the school office, and expects this to change her friendlessness. But there's no hint of what it might be. I'm not yet invested in Eleanor as a character, so a mystery trip to the school office doesn't really hold any intrigue.

    Lastly we've got the appearance of the prefects on the grass when they are in the classroom. To me this is the most interesting development. Here is a mystery. And yet it doesn't at this stage impact on Eleanor in any way. 

    So for me this story isn't starting in the right way. I would suggest finding something that has a clear connection to your MC and offers peril/threat to her. (By peril I don't mean immediate physical danger, but something that will cause Eleanor issues that she needs to act to correct.) Show us clearly that Eleanor has a quest.

    I hope some of that is helpful, but these are just my thoughts and opinions, so take what feels right to you and discard the rest. Good luck with the editing.

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    • Thank you so much Kate! This is really useful feedback and I really appreciate you taking the time to read this and feedback. Its really good to get an outside perspective on the hook issue! I find it very hard to be objective.  I did feel like there might be too much going on but I wasn't sure. I will have a rethink about the hook as your explanation definitely crystallises what I'm aiming for so thank you for that. My inciting incident is her seeing a double of herself and that used to be my hook so maybe I need to go back to exploring that idea. Maybe she could get into trouble for something she didn't do... You're right - first chapters are so hard! Still something to mull over during Christmas! 😁

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      • I like the idea of seeing herself! Immediate hook.

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