We’ve had editors tell us more than once that the first paragraph or first 60 words of a manuscript is all they read before making a decision to reject it or keep reading.
These days, children read books less than in the past, and you don’t have the luxury of starting with a leisurely, “Once upon a time,” and giving lots of back story before introducing your hero or heroine and the conflict.
Bait your reader with some tasty morsel in the first 60 words. It will be worth the effort. Keep in mind that editors get THOUSANDS of submissions each month. They can afford to be choosy. Somewhere in the slush pile on their desks (or stacked on the floor, the shelves, or the table in the middle of the room), they will find another manuscript that hooks them immediately. You want the editor to wonder, “What happens next?” and turn the page. So how do you do that?
Start in the middle of an action scene. Say something intriguing or unusual in the very first sentence. Introduce a problem in the first paragraph.