Life is fast. Super fast. So fast that no one wants to slow down to read a tome like War and Peace anymore. Poll your average high school student about their take on Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, or The Great Gatsby. Their response? Blecch. They'd rather read Twilight and Harry Potter.
There are some obvious reasons for this, but according to Jack Bickham in Scene and Structure, readers today want condensation, speed, and punch. And they want it yesterday.
Bickham states that writers need to pick a late starting point and an early ending point to keep readers interested in the story. Why?
1. Readers are fascinated and threatened by a significant change.
2. Readers want the story to start with a change.
3. Readers want to have a story question to worry about.
4. Readers want the story question answered in the story ending.
5. Readers will quickly lose patience with everything but the material that relates to the story question.
Essentially, there's a change and a question. Humans don't like change. In fact, most of us avoid it like a case of septicemic plague (bad stuff, trust me). That's why it's so intriguing to read about.
And if there's no question, there's no book. The girl's already got the guy? Boring. We already know how the body got in the trunk? Yawn.
What about your MS? Do you have a question? Is there change at the beginning of your story?