For instance, from the short story "Truth or Dare" my original opening was:
"I hate you!" Sylvie Long muttered, scurrying down the cracked sidewalk.
Now I really liked this because questions are instantly created in the reader's mind--who does she hate? Why? Why is she scurrying down the sidewalk? And 'hate' is a strong word, with much emotional power.
Under my editor's advice, the opening became: Sylvia Long heard Ned stomp up the steps and into the kitchen.
At first glance, I cared less for this opening. But looking closer, I see there are questions here as well. Why is Ned stomping? What is going to happen between Sylvia and Ned (the man who stomps)? The second opening has an advantage, too, since it introduces two of the three characters in this three-character short story, and the introduction is instantaneous.
By the way, Silvia Long still hates Ned. But something physical is going to happen before she voices that word. The build up makes her verbalization which comes later, even more effective than using the dialogue at the beginning.
When I teach creative writing, I advise my students to make a great opening, one that hooks the reader. The editor or the reader must be grabbed by the throat and pulled into the story ASAP. If that doesn't happen, the reader may only read the first line. As writers, we want the reader to read line one, paragraph one, page one, chapter one, and so on.
So take a look at your own story starts and ask yourself, does this make readers ask a question to which they must have an answer? If you start with dialogue, try a 'physical' beginning and see how it works. If you start with the 'physical' beginning, reverse that and try dialogue.
Truth or Dare & Other Tales launches toward the end of October! Visit VJ Schultz on Facebook or at Amazon Author Central for updates and more information as it becomes available.