During lunch today, I sat down and read the first bit of my novel. Or rather, the new first bit of my novel now that I've cut the 5200 words that used to be the first bit. I made a list of the events of what's now Chapter One, and it goes something like this:
1. Scene introducing protagonist (P), main character 2 (MC2) and supporting character 1 (SC1)
2. Scene w/P & MC2, mostly exposition
4. More expostion
5. Scene introducing main character 3 (MC3)
6. Telling (exposition)
7. More telling about setting
8. SC1, P and main character 3 (MC3)
9. Scene w/P & MC3
10. Scene w/P, MC2 and other characters
11. Telling (exposition)
12. More telling (exposition)
13. Scene w/P, SC1 and main character 4 (MC4)
So, erm, a lot of exposition and a lot of telling. What there should be instead is a lot of dramatized action between P and MC2, then scenes between P and MC3. And the whole thing should have a dramatic arc from the first scene to the final scene. Right now it's not development of story so much as placement of playing pieces.
Since I love outlines and outlining, I have of course made a chart showing what the dramatic arc of this chapter will be when I've rewritten it, that shows character interactions and conflict and rising action and goals versus results. This time tomorrow, or maybe the day after, I'll have a much better chapter that points the reader on the trajectory of the story.