Jeff Somers has a great article - The Chain of Awesomeness - in the June/July 2016 issue of Writer's Digest. He's talking about building a strong first chapter, but I think a lot of it applies to stories in general:
"A major mistake a lot of writers make is thinking that all a first line has to do is be cool or shocking. That's effective, but what makes a first line truly great
is that it makes readers want to read the next line."
I love a good first line, one that wakes me up, shakes me up. But I also love a first page that pulls me in, whether by grabbing me by the throat or by gently taking my hand. If something in the beginning doesn't hold my attention, doesn't keep me in the story, I will rarely read past that first page. Knowing this about myself as a reader puts enormous pressure on me as a writer. I want my readers to have to keep reading, to need to turn the page.
As readers, how long do you give a novel - one sentence, one page, one chapter - before giving up on it? How long do you give a short story? As writers, how do you handle the pressure to prove your story's worth in such a short amount of time?