With Assignment 9, I wrote and rewrote my first chapter about 100 times, if not more. In the end, I thought I had it just right. I introduced my MC and the romantic interest for her, hinted at what the conflict in the book might be, and then left the chapter with a cliff-hanger of sorts. But it didn't work. There was not enough action in the chapter to sustain it.
In Taillights, I've gone in a different direction. I've thrown the MC right into a horrific situation and left the reader to follow her as she figures out who, what and where she is. It's more action-packed, but you definitely don't get a very whole picture of who the character is, apart from in a flashback about two thirds of the way through the chapter. Yet several critiquers have told me to lose the flashback, that it drags them away from the action.
Without the flashback, you get no real idea of who Lucy is, other than someone lying on a dark road, trying to figure out how she got there and where the hell her parents might be. But does that matter? If the situation is intriguing, and you want to read on, does it matter that you don't have a good grasp on the character yet? It's one chapter. Over the course of the book, you obviously will get to know the character, and if by chapter three or four, you're not into that character, you can stop.
In my book, Lucy is one of two POV characters. And she's the less sympathetic of the two. I chose to open the book with her POV because hers is the more dramatic experience and after not having enough action in my opening chapter in A9, I decided to go all out with this one.
What are your thoughts about character vs action in an opening chapter? How do you balance the two? And what makes you want to read on?