Two words into a book is a bit early to be doing a book review. I know it is.
But I have to say, to my enormous delight, Peter Guber's Tell To Win has gripped me in its first two words.
He starts with, 'THE END.' Seriously.
He says he wants to give away the ending of the book - that he will argue that within each of us we have the power to convince, persuade, and grip others, by tapping into our inherent and inherited storytelling abilities.
This is of course right up my street. But the more exciting thing is that someone else gets the idea that in writing, you have to work your way through to the end to have real command of the beginning.
The first draft of anything is shit - Ernest Hemingway
Writing is creating, not regurgitating or reporting. It's taking the elements and their cumulative impact on you, and holding them up - hopefully considerately and caringly - to what you want your readers to gain from it. And as you learn and are moved by your own words and the places they take you to, and what you discover as they unfold, if you have done any true writing with any effort or gift at all, you will be changed by the process, and you will have a work that is far different than what you set out to do.
This is what is often wrong with books that feel like the author struggles to get started. I've read two books by a well-respected London copywriter who prides himself on his ability to relate to the common people. I filled nearly every inch of white space and margin in these books, arguing with him - and then in the final chapters of each book, it felt like he finally got to what he was trying to say. If he had moved that chapter to the start, he would have gone on to re-edit, and I would have understood where he was going with it - instead of my reading experience being more like a debate. (I would love the opportunity to meet him and talk about it!) (Unfortunately his relating to the common people doesn't include a suggestion that he wants to learn together with them.)
So what does this mean for us? Upon completing the journey and growth that your writing takes you through, why in the word would you stick with the original start? The work you set out to introduce is almost certainly going to be different - in any case, you should be changed, for having removed it from your head and heart and getting it out into the articulated world.
Never get hung up on opening lines in writing. What you're writing at the start might get scrapped anyway. Tell yourself you're starting 1/3 of the way through - try starting by articulating any idea you've got a firm grasp on, even if it's just an incomplete phrase.
Once you really know what your work's about, and what your reader is really likely to experience, only then can you write an opening that will prepare them considerately and respectfully. If people are going to spend their precious time on our words, and especially if we intend to have any sort of impact on them at all, then surely we should respect them enough to really have our own heads around our writing - this is what transforms it from a piece of text to a real gift.