A Pushcart Prize nominee, Hunter Liguore earned an MFA in Creative Writing. Her stories generally push conventional boundaries of genre and subject matter. Her work has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Mason Road, The MacGuffin, Strange Horizons, Steampunk Tales, SLAB Literary, Barely South Review, The Writer’s Chronicle, and more. http://skytalewriter.com/index.php
Over the last week I made a bargain with a friend to read some classic science fiction or fantasy together, since this friend had not read too many in the Canon. Having a ready supply of books, we sat together and picked out a handful based on title and back-jacket description, and then began to read the first page of each book aloud.
Immediately, I could see which ones my friend glazed over with, and which ones she considered potential maybes. As we whittled the choices down to five books, a pattern emerged. The books that received a second or third look were the ones that immediately presented an engaging mystery, especially one less-than-ordinary.
Writers go and read the first page of your novel. Does it grab the reader? How can you rework the hook of the story to be in the very first page? Try the book experiment on your own. Take a few books off the shelf and read a page. Ask what keeps you or steers you away. It is usually the story that is unordinary that wins.