It is very common to run across a number of submissions that have similar openings. I wanted to share what I see a lot of, and what will probably dissuade me from reading further.
1. We first see the character when they are waking up and going through a routine.
2. A dream. This sort of goes along with number 1.
4. A very descriptive/wordy opening that is all telling. The imagery may be well written, but it's always important to consider how everything you include works to move the story forward, or helps with character development. Is there another way to establish the setting?
Another thing I find quite often is a prologue. While prologues can be great, it's always a good idea to ask yourself if it is absolutely necessary.
Pet peeve: I've recently read a number of YA submissions where the characters attend a party, which I totally understand, but I didn't really see the significance, why the scene was important, or how it helped move the plot forward/tied into the rest of the story.
- Everything should tie together. I've come across scenes that really don't serve a purpose. I would always recommend considering why something is important, and how does whatever it is affect later events? Always think of cause and effect...even with character motivation!
When you read so many queries that have similar themes, they tend to all start to sound similar...with a similar voice, similar characters, settings etc. If the pages don't stand out, we won't want to read any further.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks so much for reading!