I don’t know why I hadn’t heard of Miss Snark before, but one of the coolest things a budding writer can read are the 110 reactions to cover letter and first page she’s posted.
One critique I particularly liked, where the story starts with the character asleep. So many new writers start with their character waking up (or asleep), forgetting that the beginning of their story needs to match the ending of the story, and there’s not a lot of time to waste. Don’t make it start the way the reader starts their day or it’ll be mundane. (And yes, I’m giving this critique almost exactly in Critters this week.
Look at each entry, and then her comments. You may not agree with her, but maybe you’ll learn something. I did.