The first sentence of a newspaper article, experts say, must answer five basic questions, usually referred to as the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why. Some people say the first page of a novel or short story must provide the same sort of information. As soon as possible, writers should let readers know who the protagonist is, what he or she is doing, and where, when, and why all this is happening. I’ve had a contest judge tell me my first page doesn’t work because it doesn’t include a physical description of the protagonist; I’ve seen agents and editors on conference panels toss first pages aside because they don’t precisely identify the threat the protagonist faces. If you Google “first page checklist,” you’ll find confident assertions that the first page must establish the plot’s central conflict, reveal the protagonist’s primary motivation, and do eight or ten other things as well.