“Enter the scene late; leave the scene early.”
I can’t remember where I originally heard those words, but it’s possibly the best writing advice ever, and it’s especially apt for beginnings of books. I’ve never written a novel where I haven’t gone back and cut anywhere from 2-20 pages from the beginning. Case in point: The original draft of my debut mystery, Mortom, began with siblings Andy & Kate driving into the small town of Mortom on a deserted road. Sure, there was some fun banter, they saw some semi-interesting scenery, but nothing really happened. I ended up cutting the entire scene, and there was no question it was for the best. The new and improved beginning has Andy & Kate arriving at their destination—a dilapidated house in the small town of Mortom—which gets things moving along much more quickly.