Over-explanation. This includes prologues. “Prologues are never needed. You can usually throw them in the garbage. They’re usually put on as a patch.”
Too much data. “You’re trying to seduce your reader, not burden them,” Friedman said.
Over-writing, or “trying too hard.” “We think the more description we add, the more vivid it will be; but we don’t want to be distracted from the story” we open the book for.
Beginning the novel with an interior monologue or reflection. Usually this is written as the thoughts of a character who is sitting alone, musing and thinking back on a story. Just start with the story.
Beginning the novel with a flashback. Friedman isn’t entirely anti-flashback, but the novel’s opening page is the wrong place for one.
Beginning a novel with the “waking up sequence” of a character waking, getting out of bed, putting on slippers, heading for the kitchen and coffee…a cliche
Related cliche: beginning the novel with an alarm clock or a ringing phone
Starting out with an “ordinary day’s routine” for the main character
Beginning with “crisis moments” that aren’t unique: “When the doctor said ‘malignant,’ my life changed forever…” or “The day my father left us I was seven years old…”
Don’t start with a dialogue that doesn’t have any context. Building characterization through dialogue is okay anywhere else but there.
Starting with backstory, or “going back, then going forward.”
Info dump. More formally called “exposition.”
Character dump, which is four or more characters on the first page.