Let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start. Or not. Thing is, how your novel opens is vital to telling the rest of your story. Start in the wrong place, and you might never catch a reader’s attention enough to get them to more than just skim the first few pages.

Even though there aren’t “rules” on how you should/shouldn’t begin your book, there are some things that have been overdone to the point of nauseum. Yes, there are exceptions with any of these, But it is very, very, very rare that such clichés are done well.


Openings at which I Roll My Eyes So Hard They Pop Out of My Head: 
  1. Having a nightmare/dream
  2. Waking up
  3. Getting ready for school
  4. First day of school year
  5. Going to new school for first time
  6. Seeing [hot/mysterious/rude] person for first time
  7. Being bullied by girlfriend/boyfriend of the person the protag is crushing on
  8. Being partnered up with said [hot/mysterious/rude guy] in science class
  9. Staring at clock on classroom wall; it’s hands moving slower than usual
  10. Sitting bored in class (especially English or History)
  11. Being bored for any reason
  12. An ordinary, boring protag who’s never had anything exciting happen to them EVER
  13. “It all started the day [exciting event] happened.”
  14. “I didn’t realize at the time how [some small event] would change my life forever.”
  15. The middle of a fight scene
  16. POV of serial killer/psycho murdering someone
  17. Prologue in which  protag is facing certain death, then flashes back to boring non-events (especially if protag comes out of said event alive and kicking without permanent injury. It’s a cheap trick intended to add suspense but almost never does.)

Remember, there needs to be a good reason why the book opens where and how it does. And it’s important that readers understand—even just a little—the world, characters, or plot before dumping us in the middle of the action. The most important thing, though, is

Don’t be boring. Or annoying.

For analysis of the various Beginning Tropes, including examples of books, movies, tv, comics, etc., that use said trope, take a peek at TVtropes.org. Be warned, that site is a Rabbit Hole and you could end up tinkering around there for hours. Not that I’ve ever done that.