I'm channeling my inner CW here, and so with apologies to him here's what Aaron Sorkin says on how to introduce a character: when the character first appears show what he or she wants, not who he or she is (unless, obviously, the two go together).
Never mind for the moment the obvious caveat: Sorkin's a screenwriter and he's talking about writing a script, not a novel.
I'm thinking about my own stories as well as others I like and it seems there's a lot more latitude with a novel. That said, is Sorkin right? I've read novels that opened with what he describes ("They threw me off the hay truck around noon," from The Postman Always Rings Twice is a pretty good example [not an exact quote]), but I'm kind of at a loss to think of one that *doesn't* do that and still succeeds. Is there one?
This is from a promo for Master Class. Sorking's clip is here.