Monday, October 28, 2019

First 50 Critique – NA/SFF #1

We are accepting entries this week!
For a description of how this works, click here.

Brief description of entry requirements:

For this round, I threatened requested an on-line friend to provide me with her first 50 words.  She describes her category/genre as New Adult [NA] SF/Speculative.  So here's what we are accepting this round:

Age - Your MC must be age 18-29 and you describe your work as adult or new adult, not YA
Genre - Science Fiction / Fantasy / Speculative

If this describes your work-in-progress, it's eligible!

If you'd like to submit your first 50 words, click here for the full instructions.  Here's a brief reminder:

The first requirement for submitting your entry is that you must have commented on two previous First 50 entries.  Today's entry can be one of them.

The second requirement is send us an email [open a new email from your email program, we've had multiple instances of misdirected entries] and address it to OperationAwesome6 with the typical gmail ending.  The email must read as follows:

[Subject:] First 50 Critique – NA/SFF

The following 50 words are my own work and I give OA permission to post it on the OA blog for the life of the blog.

I commented on the entries posted on DATE and DATE as [your online ID].

My first 50 words:

[Copy/paste your first 50 words here.]

Entry period opens now and closes at the end of the day on Wednesday October 30, 2019.  All entries will receive a confirmation email from us by Friday November 1, 2019 [so you can start nano on a happy note] that acknowledges receipt of your entry and, if you've complied with all requirements, lets you know what date it will be included on the blog for critique.  If you do NOT receive a confirming email by Saturday November 2, 2019, send us a DM on Twitter and we'll give you alternative instructions for sending us your entry.

Now on to this week's entry!

Reminder: Be nice, but be honest. [Comments that are not polite/respectful will be deleted.] What would YOU like to know if this was YOUR first 50 words? Do you think it's a good opening line for the category/genre? Does it have a hook? Does it pull you into the story? Do you want to read more? Why or why not? Be specific, so your critique helps the person who wrote the entry.

First 50 Critique – NA/SFF #1

The first thing I hear are the sirens.

Sirens. Sirens mean ambulance, police, emergency. Something is wrong. Something bad has happened. My brain stumbles along from one thought to the next as the siren’s wail rises and falls.

The ambulance can’t be for me. Can it?


  1. you've done a nice job of showing us the sirens and a little bit of concern that it might be for your MC. But I have no idea where this person is. All I hear are sirens. I don't see apartment walls or streets.I don't see a field across the street or smell freshly mown grass. I can't feel blood on their finger tips and for that matter I'm not sure if this is a male or female.

  2. Very cool opening sentence! Good job of backloading the first sentence with that power word sirens. You've totally got my attention.

    I think I'd move "Something is wrong...Something bad has happened" to later on the page. Those sentences are not as compelling as other sentences so near the opening.

    The other thing I recommend is to rephrase the sentence with the "as" clause. As clauses can be confusing because the chronology is reversed. I suggest "The siren's wail rises and falls, and my brain stumbles along from one thought to the next."

    I really like the mystery you set up at the end.

  3. Nice start! I don't think you have to repeat "sirens" so much. Sirens mean police, emergency, ambulance...but then you tell us it is ambulance. Maybe we don't need to be reminded that there are many entities from which sirens emanate--the most important one, apparently, is the ambulance.


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