One of the most overused tropes that should be avoided by writers is one that I am also guilty of using…
The trope is having your novel begin with your protagonist waking up.
For a first-time novelist, this trope might be tempting (it was for me) because it gives the writer the ability to describe the protagonist’s setting as your character awakes and takes in their surroundings. Though this is true, it also creates a stalemate for the beginning of your novel which is the last thing you want to create.
The first pages of you book are crucial because they are sometimes the only chance you have to hook a reader (or, before that—an agent/editor). You don’t want to lose readers to your protagonist padding around as they move through their morning routine. Instead, you want to begin your novel in a way that draws your reader in immediately. This interest is created with action, suspense and raised questions. Try advancing your novel past the waking, dressing, etc. and toward where your story really begins to take hold.
As an additional argument against using this trope, I have been advised by published writers, professors, and agents about how much this trope makes them roll their eyes. So, as this advice has helped dramatically improved my work in progress—I wanted to share it in case it saves you from a similar fate. We writers must look out for each other.
So, in conclusion, unless your protagonist is Sleeping Beauty…wake them up and get your story moving!