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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sample Feedback: Betta’s Song Chapter One Excerpt Critique

Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults

Many organizations that offer contests have a rubric that their first readers are often given to judge quality, using numbers one to five with five as the highest. Then the highest scored entries are passed along to the final judges. The basic intent is to identify the “catch” of the opening chapter, regardless of genre.

Also there is more than one reader per entry so it’s the total score that moves forward. As readers we all have inherent desires for any story we read. Some want deep character angst, some are more engaged by action or setting or curiosity. So the same first chapter could have high marks from one reader and low from another in the same box.

After participating as a preliminary judge for several years I decided to develop my own introductory analysis for my clients as an general overview first step. Not every category may be relevant for an immediate first chapter, depending on genre and depth of subject, but they should all be clarified by the end of the novel opening—which is usually by the third chapter.

Or for young readers many of these may need to be clarified within the first few  sentences or paragraphs. The main purpose is to establish what the first impressions are. Is the reader connecting to the character or dilemma or possibilities? And do they want to read on when the chapter ends? That is the crux.

So go ahead and apply this outline to the whole chapter of Attack, or to an opening chapter in a book you are now reading.

Share: According to this overview do you think there are any holes in this opening chapter than should have been addressed or clarified? What makes you want to read on? Or not?

                                                   Read deep, marcy

First Chapter Analysis Guideline, by Marcy Weydemuller

Opening First Impression

Story Writing Strengths

Story Writing Weaknesses

Delivery Strengths

Delivery Weaknesses

Story Question

Main Character





Genre Specifics

Read On?

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"The Seeker" Rachel Marks | Content Copyright Marcy Weydemuller | Site by Eagle Designs
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