3. FIRST PAGE
Introduce your main character immediately. No ifs or buts on this one. Lead your reader by the hand and introduce them to each other: Meet Joe – I’m going to tell you a story about him.
Dialogue: put some on the first page, or as soon as humanly possible, preferably from your main character. We need to hear his/her voice, both audible and narrative. We need to get a feel for what they are, and most importantly, what the inner need is that drives them through the torture you as a writer are about to inflict on them. Scan through any page of a novel and your eye will inevitably be drawn more readily to the dialogue than the description.
4. FIRST CHAPTER
Again remember that a commissioning editor will only want a sample of your first 2 or 3 chapters initially. Write for them first, your eventual customer second. You need to make the editor want to see the whole novel. How to do that? By the same principals you should apply to all of your novel. Conflict, inner need, obstacles, action and change. Drive the story from the very first page.
The reader does not yet need to know how your hero got to the precipitating event that starts the novel. They will give you time to fill them in later with the backstory. What you need to do to make the book unputdownable, is put questions in the reader’s head. Always deliver on your promise to answer the questions or they will feel cheated. But answers can be rationed out, some immediately, one at least only at the end of the book.
As you go along, you can raise more questions like a trail of breadcrumbs leading the reader onward. Think of it as an overlapping series of circles. From the first, you can see and then enter part of the second, and so on.