I tend to err, rather severely, on the side of thinking that readers have very little patience with material that doesn't move the story forward. What I see here in discussion after discussion is that readers, or at least the members here, have a LOT of patience for setting description(s) and character development. I submitted a chapter of a novel I was working on (and since abandoned) that was criticized for not spending more time on setting and in particular, character development in the very first chapter. It was my plan to let characters develop over time, rather than try to (semi) fully develop each character as the first order of business. Apparently my idea is not the way some writers/readers like books to be constructed. In any event, my next (theoretical, as always) project is a sci fi novel based on a catastrophe and the bulk of the narrative is how the characters deal with the catastrophe. Now, my question, more specifically, assuming the beginning were adequately well written, how much material would YOU PERSONALLY be willing or enjoy reading before the main plot driver surfaces? Knowing (from the title and cover, if nothing else) what's coming, would a chapter or two of character development and setting be too much, or does it totally not matter if the introductory passages are written well enough?