Did you ever watch a space shuttle launch?
It was an awesome thing: the thundering noise, the heat, the deep bass rumble. Why do they have to put so much energy into launching ships into space? They have to start out with a ton of power so the ship has enough velocity to make it all the way into space.
And that's what your story has to do, too.
Adding rocket fuel to your book
Pour a ton of thrust into the story's opening to carry readers all the way through to the end. Here's a quick 5-point checklist to make sure your opening covers all the bases.
If you're writing a chapter book, you should include all these elements in the first chapter, preferably in the first half of the first chapter. In a picture book, you'll want all of this on the first one or two pages. That seems tight, but remember that your illustrations are going to be doing at least half the work.
Ready? Get out your red pencil... here's the checklist:
Does your story's opening...
We should get a clear idea of who this character is and what they're going to want in the story. Show, don't tell. Let the illustrations do part of the work here, and whatever you do, don't start with the character's name and age.