Jen asked about narrative action.
Basically, if you have the opportunity to write some exciting action in real time, do so. Swash buckling is good.
For example, John Hale gave Kate Allen and me this advice about the start of The Lady Soldier. We had originally started at what is now the second chapter -- during the aftermath of the battle where Jem encounters Tony for the first time. Mr Hale suggested that we write about the battle and how she struggles to survive etc. It puts the reader straight into the middle of the action.
With my current wip, I had started with the heroine sitting in a field, reading. But really, I needed to start with the hero getting attacked and escaping. Far more exciting and even if it is slight bridging conflict, it does ultimately have change the hero's life.