WHAT CAN’T BE LEFT OUT: I went through line by line but each one contributes. Even the line about the vids and her friend let you know a little about her status and what she’s leaving behind. The lines about the opaqued windows could be ominous or not, but it tells you there is technology and someone else is controlling it. AH-HA MOMENT: I always want to start with action, but neither of these openings does that. Yet I’m intrigued, not bored. I always feel like setting and thoughts slow things down. But I’m comfortable with this pace and feel grounded in character and place in both of these openings. There are little hints of backstory but they’re quick and pertinent to what’s going on. Lots for me to absorb and learn.
I love both your examples! I more love the depth of the analysis you’re now doing. (And I hate the English language where we overuse the word ‘love’ to mean far too many things that are truly not equal…but I digress…)
I too love to start with action and most often I do. BUT a well-crated, emotionally-packed non-action opening can have huge impact because of the ‘ambiance.’ My opening in GABRIEL’S GHOST is post-action. We don’t see the fight or the struggle or hear the grunts or feel the blows. We see she’s killed someone and we are fully into the setting, the temperature, the colors (or lack of) that she can see in her surroundings.
Sensory/imagery is very powerful.
WHAT CAN’T BE LEFT OUT: At first I thought the description of the non-com right at the start could be dropped. But as I analyzed the passage, I’m seeing the contrast and purpose of the character. I thought maybe the reference to his father could be left out, but it widens the reader’s perception of Miles to include a family which makes him even more sympathetic. Plus his father is important to the story, but we don’t know that yet.
The mention–and it’s truly a mere mention–of his father shows the proper way to use backstory. A tease. A tickle of information that holds the potential for some emotional issue.
//Interstellar Adventure Infused with Romance//