One of my favorite stories from the Santa Barbara Writers Conference back in the 1990s comes from one of the presenters. I’d tell you who he was but that was so long ago I can’t remember his name.
Anyway, he taught a workshop seminar on how to begin your story. He would have the writer read his or her story in front of the whole group. The kicker is that he opened the session with this comment: “I’ll let you read until something happens or until I decide that nothing will ever happen.”
I loved this comment because it went right to the heart of the problem most writers have today. They get so caught up in describing the character or setting the scene in minute detail that they never get around to starting the story.
Readers will put up with this only so long then they get bored and move on to another book or story. The best way to start a story is at the latest possible point and with the key action that changes everything for the main character. Then work in the description and back story as needed. It’s interesting that often much of that back story and description is never needed.
By the way, that instructor stopped everyone when he decided nothing was going to happen and he didn’t wait much more than a page or two to make that decision.
With today’s short attention span it is even more important today to begin with action that catches the attention of the reader and makes them want more.