In Holding It Together, my oldest novel, the first chapter is an introduction to the characters. Nothing much happens, but because there are 5 main characters, they are each introduced, and the menacing environment they live in is hinted at. BUT... the real plot does not start until chapter 2. Probably a mistake. I should probably scrap the first chapter and begin in chapter 2. The different personalities will show themselves in the different ways they react to the events.
In Prayer and Prey I haven't written in chapters, so this doesn't exactly work so well. But, the first 10 pages or so introduce the three different POVs and sets each of them on their individual journey. I think Danny's section probably works better than the other two in that his motivation is bigger than that of the other two characters.
In Assignment 9 I introduce the protagonist and her dilemma right off the bat. Then I throw in a second character and suggest a relationship may develop. Then, right at the end of that first chapter, I introduce the idea that her family is messed up, which leads into the second story thread that makes up the book. I think this opening chapter achieves what I need it to.
In my newest WIP( provisionally called Chasing the Taillights), I am writing in dual POVs, so the first chapter only introduces one of the protagonists. They don't end up in the same space until around chapter 4. The book also opens with the inciting incident, the big plot point on which the entire book hangs. I'm not sure if this is the right place to have started, but when I tried writing from further back, it didn't work at all, so this starting place may have to be it. The chapter doesn't do everything I usually like a first chapter to do, but I think it works in a different way: because it leaves so many unanswered questions, you feel compelled to keep reading for the answers.
Do you have any thoughts on what makes a great opening chapter?