My simple definition of what a story or book is; A story is about an interesting character, doing interesting things, for a reason.
But to be an interesting story you need to start with a hook. Starting a story by showing the surroundings is not interesting. Even if it shows the background of your protagonist or the character of your protagonist.
Show the protagonist interacting with the surroundings or even the weather. Don’t say it was raining.
The water lapped at her waist. She glanced around. The high ground she had just left was so close behind her. The kid screaming from the second story window was so far in front. Why’s the water was so muddy. Where’d the mud come from. The lawns around here are always so green and well kept.
Her foot slipped. She fought to regain here footing. The kid in the window screamed louder. She threw her weight forward against the current of the flood waters. The street sloped down from here if she slipped again they may never find her body.
How could the child scream so loud? She looked up the rushing water to where the child was pointing. A large leaf covered branch was floating straight at her. The branch turned like a giant ocean liner. It was an up rooted tree. A big tree.
She struggled against the water. If the tree caught her it would pull her into deeper water. It was so close.
Don’t say there was a flood. Show your protagonist fighting the flood for something she values, a child’s life. Show your protagonist doing something in her character, acting like she would act under stress.
It’s your character’s book. Introduce the character early (its their book, don’t bury the lead). Show them acting like they act. Reader todays don’t have the patience to read about the normal life of a character. Get to the action, in the first line if you can. And you can. It’s work, but it’s work that will make the reader enjoy your book.
Stay strong, write on.
Professor Hyram Voltage