Grab the reader's interest from the very first page.
Just how vital the first paragraph of a story is, will remain open to debate but there’s no doubt it plays an important role in whether the reader continues to turn pages, or skips on to something more interesting. Former lit agent Nate Bransford is currently running his 4th annual contest for the best first paragraph. Although it’s past the deadline for entries, it can be instructive to visit Nate's blog at http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2011/01/4th-sort-of-annual-stupendously.html and look at some 1,500 examples of what OTHER authors think is a good attention-getter.
Here is my entry:
Tyler Goode didn’t know the man’s real name until he read the obituary three days later. Everyone called the guy Brute. It fit him well. He’d become a legend in northwest Montana for taking whatever he wanted – whether someone else’s woman or a warm bottle of beer – and leaving the victim a bloody, broken mess. He wore his nickname like a medal, as if it were a compliment to his strength and combat skills instead of a summary of his personality. Smart people steered clear of Brute, all three hundred-plus pounds of him. Of course Ty had never been accused of genius.