It has been awhile since I have unleashed on of my snarky rants. But it's Monday . . . and . . . well it's Monday. Now before you read further, please remember that this is READER TRISHA not WRITER TRISHA who is expressing her opinions here.
I love layers in my characters. I love writers who get that people/ characters don't exist in a neatly sealed box, that their past and present always collide, forcing them to make some horrendous decisions. I love mystery and action. In fact I crave it, need some something to propel me to turn that page and exclaim holy crap. I thoroughly appreciate the need to set seeds and thrive on a good game of literary connect-the-dots.
What I hate is getting it all at once!
I don't want nor do I need to be introduced to thread after thread in the first twenty pages. No matter how well written, no matter how important you think those ten pieces of back-story, those five extra characters and those twelve tiny hints are to your plot, if you toss that at me all in the first two chapter, then and suffice it to say I'll get confused. (and a tad bit pissy)
It's not good if I am two chapters in and still wondering if your MC is dreaming, awake, high, or just one fucked up human being. I don't want to have to guess if your plot is set in the present or the future. I don't want to have to remember seven character names in the first five pages or try and keep their back-stories straight. And I sure as hell don't want be guessing at the gender of your MC.
As a reader, I need you to ground your MC. I need a firm grip on setting. I don't mean I want an elaborate description of the color of the falling leaves or the missing shutter on the third window from the left. What I mean is a concrete sense of time, place AND tone. Start there, then add the threads. You have 250 some odd pages to develop your character. Use it all.