It’s hard to begin a novel. Heck, it’s even hard to begin a blog post. Why? You only have a few lines to grab a reader and draw them into your world, and the pressure is on.
While we often obsess over plot, pacing, and other mechanics of storytelling, the open is one of the most important (and difficult) elements to master. It’s a promise that you offer to your reader. Nail it and readers will stick with you, even if other elements of your story aren’t perfect. But if you don’t start your novel off in the right place, readers will grow bored or get confused and eventually give up. Not good.
A lot of writers make the mistake of starting out with background information, but you should delay that until later on in your story. Don’t spend time with too much preamble. Plunge your reader into the heart of the action to hook them right away.