Hello I recently shared the first chapter of my novel a couple places and I'm beginning to feel similar to how I felt when I first began writing: confused. So far, out of 3 recent anonymous readers this week, only one acknowledged that a major factor in these critiques is a lack of additional chapters. In general, I want to trust a person I don't know more than someone I do know because -- as we are all led to believe -- a person who knows you is more likely to not want to hurt your feelings. However, when I read some of the comments on my work and others as well, I wonder if a writer can reach a point PRIOR TO BECOMING PUBLISHED where they should simply drown out the negative comments drive on. There are plenty of 1 star reviews for all of our favorite books. I frequently see the same kind of critiques for openings. I have come to the conclusion that they don't have to be fireworks strapped to a dragon while the protagonist chases it down for the gem in its chest to heal his disabled mother who is buried 500 miles away under 100 feet of snow. Two books I have read (Harry Potter and The Giver) have quiet and dull beginnings. Harry Potter isn't even the first character mentioned in his own debut novel, and he isn't mentioned for damn near 3 pages. The first page of The Giver is, by itself, completely boring. Of course it's easy to mention already-successful novels, but I am starting to notice a pattern. I'm finding more and more books that don't have a massive hook, or even an apparently interesting concept. I also find that these first chapters just seem to move. That's the only thing that they have in common. Then there's this advice: "Let it grab me from the very first sentence." First line from Name of the Wind's prologue: "It was felling night." Consider me grabbed. Not really. Yet Name of the Wind is a critically-acclaimed book nonetheless. Whenever I give a critique I try to make it a point to offer an alternative, even a sentence. I also make it a point to let the writer know what they are doing right, so that they know, and don't end up taking that out and also so that they try to capitalize on that strength. A critique is not a mini book review. It should push the writer towards being better at writing. And there are times where simply pointing out errors do not accomplish this. I know that some things do need to be cut entirely, but I am starting to think that a helpful critique should be less of "Make your writing adhere to this format" and more of "How can we make this (or something similar) work well?"