I must give credit to the http://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/ newsletter I received recently - I found the following to be quite helpful, as I was writing an opening scene that very day. I thought I'd share it with you today. Always sharpening that writer's craft pencil, and every little bit helps. Enjoy!
First Scenes First
I want you to walk to your bookshelf. At random, pick out a novel, any novel, that you've already read. Reread the first scene of this novel before continuing this discussion. [Waiting for you to select and read first scene ? tick tock, tick tock ?] After you've read this first scene, I want you to ask yourself the following questions:
What did you learn about the character in this scene?
What hints of complications or future tensions are found in this scene?
What do you know about the plot so far?
What is the significance of starting at this exact point in time?
As a reader, did you feel you immediately knew enough about the character to be drawn in?
The opening scene of your novel carries a lot of weight. It needs to simultaneously introduce you to your protagonist and to a significant situation. First impressions aren't just important for meeting people. They may determine whether the shopper in the bookstore goes on to become your reader.