Writing Words With the Tips of My Toes
I think action is a horrible way to open a book, even in prologues. The prologue, first chapter, first whatever, needs to be spent on developing whatever character/characters are being focused on–not developing the plot through action, which readers are likely to not care about so soon anyway.
I read the first few pages of a book on Amazon and was immediately turned away because, for one, it opens up the book with a weather description, which I found really pointless. I get the author was trying to establish an ominous tone, but weather is just the most trite, weakest way to do it. It’s a shortcut, basically, when you have no idea how to convey that something horrible is about to occur. Plus, I don’t care about the weather. I care about the character and what the character is doing/the character’s current problems. Bring in the weather description after you’ve established character because that is who I care about first and foremost.
Then after the weather description, action immediately happens, a fight breaks out, and I suddenly find I don’t care anymore. I don’t really know the characters, so why am I supposed to care about this fight they’re engaging in? Not to mention the action was just confusing period. And where is the character the prologue is focusing on? Who is the antagonist, or even the protagonist? The whole prologue was essentially pointless. It would have better served as background information later.
In any case, if there is no character or plot already established, I think action is a dreadful way to start a book. No one is going care that Character B died because we barely knew Character B. We barely know any of these characters and you as the writer expect us to care already? I don’t think so. This is a book, not a movie, and even in movies I hate when they start with action. It’s just way too fast and I am all about focusing on that blasted character for the prologue or first chapter.