Episode 95: Wingless Bird: Science Fiction Critique


In this episode, Leslie and Clark critique the first chapter of Wingless Bird, an as yet unpublished science fiction novel by Tori. They discuss the elements of a strong beginning hook. This week’s mission will help you revise your opening to pull the reader in right away.

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Show notes

The commonalities, though, are simple: Grab the reader and never let go. Whether you grab them with a major outburst of action or plot, an utterly compelling character or even just a dazzling display of lyrical writing, you must absolutely seize the reader’s head by the end of page one. That opener has to be intensely interesting in some way: I need to know what’s going on, or I need to know this odd person, or how this dream ends, or why this beautifully wrought description of a beehive is so important.

I need to know. That’s the key to your opening. Create that need, and you’ve hooked ‘em.
— Michael J. Martinez


Editorial Mission—Hook 'em

Check your first lines and opening paragraph. Have you raised a question in the reader’s mind with an intriguing character possessing a strong voice, strange circumstances, an interesting image or setting, or immediate stakes? Have you created a trail of clues for the reader to follow to a bigger hook, have you promised conflict?


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Inline Critique