Nathan Bransford had a great post about first chapters.
My problem: in what I'm reading, I'm not seeing this phenomenal first chapters. I'm seeing so-so chapters that give me an intro, but nothing standout dynamic.
Yes, I know, we're all supposed to be writing these phenomenal first chapters. It's one of those rules.
Well, if we're all supposed to be doing this, then why am I reading more and more first chapters that aren't phenomenal. Oh, they're good, some are bad, but . . . I keep reading.
Agent A might discard a potential book based on a so-so first chapter. Agent B might snap up the book. The thing is . . . it's all subjective.
None of us are psychic. If we were, we'd know which agent to query so we become the next hot author.
None of us can know whether we've written a phenomenal first chapter or a so-so first chapter. We might think we know, but, in the end, it comes down to the subjectivity of an intern and/or agent and whether they think we've written a phenomenal first chapter or a so-so first chapter.
So, in the end, we have to write the best first chapter, and subsequent chapters, that we can write and understand that, to some, those first chapters might not be phenomenal. To others, those first chapters might be literary gold.