- Fuzzy beginnings are a don't. Beginnings with a vague sense of place fail to grab. There had better be a clear sense of place and time.
- Don't switch temporal perspective. I don't mean POV or headhopping between various characters (well known mistakes). Jumping between the past and present isn't a good idea in the first page of your work. Relating the past, jumping the present, revisiting the past, and then jumping back to the present is awkward. More than that, however, it fails to anchor your reader in your story.
- Don't open with tons of description. One story began with detailed description of an object. A paragraph's worth. We went quite a while before we met the character. Again, your job is to anchor the reader in your story and to your characters, not to an object.
- Don't surprise your reader with unexpected details. A few stories started one way and then dropped in a jarring detail. One story began in a very homey way and then broke out the fairy dust. Another story's description hinted at century's old atmosphere and then showed us a baseball cap. The changes didn't create interest- they caused confusion.
There were other issues, but those dealt mainly with the mechanics of writing that you know. I think the comments reminded me most of goslings. You know how just-hatched goslings imprint on the first thing they see? Think of your readers as hatchlings ready to imprint. Your first pages need to imprint them on the right character, the right world, and the right conflict. Use clear language, and pick the right scene so that your goslings can make sense of the world you've dropped them into.
*Sorry about the wonky formatting, folks, I ran out of patience trying to fix it...