Having just read this: http://writerunboxed.com/2013/04/22/april/ which has a number of comments from agents about what not to do at the beginning of your novel. A few of these are no brainers but many are just a matter of taste? As a reader I not only don't mind a prologue, if done well, but also feel it may add a huge amount to the theme and feel of a book. Look at Tigana (which breaks two of the "rules" discussed) - minor spoiler in next paragraph
There is a prologue, a damn fine prologue in my opinion, and Kay kills of several characters in the first chapter (can't remember if it's a "false beginning" as such though?!) Tigana is a fine book which happens to have several structural faults. If it were Kay's first book would it have been published? Would he have got an agent because of it's faults?
Exposition/description in the first chapter? would Gormenghast make the grade nowadays?
Don't like the opening line being "My name is..."? "Call me Ishmael" is a famous opening line
Are there any book openings that immediately put you off reading something?
In other news the restrictions placed on Apple are really quite stringent - a lot can happen in 5 years: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2013/08/doj-proposes-punishments-for-apple/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
and in other exciting news the box office is now open for BFL - http://unputdownable.org/events
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