Remember, we live in a visual and demanding age. Audiences are more media literate than they’ve EVER been and readers are more sophisticated. They simply will not wait for a story to start.
But what does this mean? Well, every writer – novelist or screenwriter – HAS to hit the ground running. In other words, character AND story has to be introduced hand-in-hand.
If your draft smells of set up as I call it – ie: “HERE are my characters, I am introducing you to them … and five pages in, the story begins!!” – we don’t like it.
So if a draft hits the ground running, we are PLUNGED into the action via a characters’ reactions to what is happening to them in the story.
This doesn’t you HAVE to start with a massive event (though plenty of stories do), OR that slow burn techniques are frowned upon. You can do whatever you want, as long as it’s dramatic and fits the type of story you’re telling and the preferences of the audience you are targeting.
CHARACTER + STORY = HAND IN HAND