As a reader, how much do story openings mean to your enjoyment of a book? Does a bad one make you put a book down and stop reading, or are you willing to forgive a bad one and hope a book gets better later?
I always warn people when they ask me to read their book that I'm a pretentious hard-ass about it. Authors I've never read before get a sentence. That's it. Typically if the first sentence doesn't grab me and refuse to let go, then I'm out. Writers I'm familiar with get a paragraph or a page or two. People who pay me to read (i.e., edit) get all my attention, but I don't necessarily have to enjoy it. *grins*
My buddy and fellow writer, James Tuck, put it this way: "Life's too short to read shitty books."
I happen to agree with him. If a writer can't grab my interest from the get-go, then what makes me assume he or she will be able to rectify that a few more pages into the tale?