Hello everyone, problem. Everytime I see a excerpt from someone's work, I'll usually see a line from a critique that goes something like: "I really liked your work, but you need to work on the beginning. It didn't really draw me in. I need it to grab my attention immediately." Or, when discussing writing an entire book: "You need to make sure the first 2 or 3 chapters bring the reader in, or else they'll never finish the book. Any publisher will think its trash before they've read it, so starting strong is the only way to keep them from throwing it away on the spot." So my question is, what is this whole concept of "gripping" the reader in the very beginning? It came to my attention, as I'm writing a post-collapse/apocalypse novel, that my beginning may seem somewhat slow, or introspective, or maybe lacking action. However, the story just doesn't feel right to me if it doesn't come a little slow for the first few chapters. I kind of wanted to embellish a kind of normal beginning to show how much the character's "normal" life is shattered by the cataclysm. What do you think? Is it okay to start an entire first chapter with the main character, his father, and a friend just going out camping? Or should I immediately jump out with: "John Smith held a 357. cold hard steel, pressed to the back of a Nazi's head. Man did he love that bang." What is a big part of your first impressions when reading a book? What are you looking for in the beginning of a book? thanks.