Where to Begin?

One of my greatest weaknesses as a writer is the fact that I love to explain things. This often leads to bad beginnings, because the first six pages of the book are spent creating this world for the reader, telling them about the background to build up the story. Thus there are just blocks of boring text that no one really wants to get into.

There’s such a delicate balance, when you think about it. The story needs to begin in the heart of things, interesting the reader, but how to avoid beginning it too quickly? I hate it when I’m plunged into a scene where I know nothing about the characters and, frankly, don’t care about what happens to them. I think I’ve come up with the solution: begin the story at the beginning. What? That’s crazy. I know! But if you come up with a great hook, I think you can slide introducing the world a little bit.

For example:

I was going to kill him.

My hands tightened on the steering wheel as I maneuvered the slick road that led to my boyfriend’s house. I could feel my eyes burning with unshed tears, and I’d clenched my jaw so many times that it was starting to hurt.

I pulled up his driveway, and for a wild moment I considered ramming into the house. After a few gratifying seconds of imagining the car exploding through his kitchen, I put the car into park and stared up at his bedroom window. A light was on. I knew he was in there.

It’s rough, I know, but it gets the point across. You know something is desperately wrong, and you’re kind of intrigued, right? Maybe this is just me being biased, but I already feel a little sorry for the main character.

So what’s your weakness as a writer?