I recently read an extremely valuable article, which categorized three specific items that must be present in the very first paragraph of any novel.
- The protagonist–the person with whom you want readers to identify, and whose point of view is featured in most parts of the book.
- The incident that triggers the events that take place in the story. It is not a good idea to start a novel with a passive scene. Readers are far more likely to want to read on if something exciting is happening, especially if it creates questions.
- A hint at the protagonist’s core need. There is a very good reason for this. It gives the author a framework to work around, and that core need must be fulfilled in some way or another for the story to be successful.
I don’t know if I can put all of that into one paragraph, but I am definitely going to strive to get it into the first page.