Do you consider the first three episodes a pilot?
Short answer, no. Long answer… Depends on the atmosphere of the story. I read one where the first three episodes had the MC as a child and then it was a flash forward to the future where he was older for the remaining episodes, so I felt like that one could pass as calling them pilot episodes… But most times I feel like if you’re calling your first three episodes pilots, then they are probably short AF…
What is your expectation(s) for the first episode? Second? Third?
First episode should be introducing all main characters (I can’t stand having a love triangle being introduced in episode 18 if prior to that there’s only been the one love interest), setting the scene and I guess I should generally have an idea about where the plot could possibly go by the end of episode 1 too. I feel like there’s too many stories that spend the first episode focusing on MC going to school and gossiping with her friends that by the end of episode 1, I still don’t know what the point of the story is.
Episode 2 and 3 would depend on what happened in episode 1 and I’m far too lazy to write out multiple hypotheticals at this moment
Should a reader be impressed (and want to continue) by the 1st episode, or 3rd episode?
Yes and yes. They should by the end of episode 1, and if they’re not but continue to read on anyway then they should definitely by episode 3. I can’t imagine too many people will say they aim to bore people by the end of episode 1 (or 3)
What’s an overused way to start an episode, and how would you change it to make it more ‘unqiue’?
Yeah, the running late thing is overdone… I think if you’re going to start like that, then you better characterize your MC to be late for everything so it’s more of a trait than a cheap way to start an episode.
Author notes are an overused way to start an episode! Make it more unique by deleting it or at least saving it until the end of episode 3.
I find CC is a very overused way to start an episode. I’m not a fan of having MC come out of the screen, and without knowing anything about him/her, I have to decide how they look? No thanks. It’s very refreshing to see it worked in to a story or into the plot… Like maybe when MC wakes up late, she could rush over to the mirror, say her her looks like crap and she needs to fix it up even though she’s already running super late, and then that’s acts as a path to introduce CC