The opening scene of a novel is one of the most important parts to a book. This is where you hook your readers, like reeling in a tasty fish, You’ve got to use the right bait. You need a start that’s interesting, that captures their imagination and doesn’t let go. This is all easy to say and much harder to do, of course!
Where to start the story is more than just a catchy opening, though. You need to consider what starts the story. Every story is a small portion of a much larger existence. Characters have pasts and most of them will have futures as well. What is it that changes in the character’s life that makes this the story you want to tell about them? What is the catalyst?
This is why the waking up scene so rarely works. Waking up is normal. It’s part of every-day existence. They’ll have done it from the day they were born to the day they die. This is not, in most cases, the start of their story. Stories tend to start with change, not routine. Chance encounters, serendipity or misfortune, forced or chosen opportunities. These are the things that move the character out of their day-to-day life, and down a path worth chronicling.