|As beginning writers, we spend a lot of thought on the subject of showing vs telling: ‘Show don’t tell’ examples are everywhere. One place where telling is indeed useful is at the start of a book. But, it can often be built into the action of the story where it can speed up time and narrate unimportant transitions and avoid boring the reader.
When telling, is it often hard to avoid the twin bugaboos of wordiness and repetition. Sometimes, one can even leave out the telling narration and feed the information in as actions by the character. Mix showing and telling to add tone and mood. You might consider using a combination of showing and telling to move the opening along and still give all the information that the reader needs.
Although I believe the 'New Year's Eve' transition would be a better starting point for this tale, The Opening, as presented, has interesting lines and could benefit from tightening to reduce the wordiness and bring the action to the fore.
Olivia, was a relatively normal girl, who just happened to have psychic powers. The first power she discovered, and the only one she knew she hadof until she was nearingnearly her 21st birthday, was the power to hear the voices of the voiceless. She could understand words coming from people who could not speak. Despite her wanting to believe she could understand animals, it was apparent that her ability only applied to humans and possibly humanoid beings from other worlds and dimensions. She first discovered it at the age of 19 when she and her friends were exploring an abandoned insane asylum on a Sunday afternoon. They heard footstepsFootsteps and crashing sounds coming from the floor above convinced them. They were just about to leave in case it was the sound of a police officer, but Olivia stopped them:
That suggestion would reduce the word count for the segment from 138 to 97 and thus speed up the opening.
I know this little tidbit can't be much help, but I hope you find something useful in it.