I took a lot of notes at PNWA, so I figured I'd share some of what I learned/heard here.
Rule #1--Whatever you're doing with your character, it must work. (Kind of like the golden rule of writing.)
Aside from that, here are some tips they shared for Good Beginnings:
1) Establish the Tone
Point of view--do you know who you're going to be spending the next 400 pages with?
Conflict--What gets the character moving?
2) Introduce the Protagonist
Who is she/he?
What is your protagonist?
Where is your protagonist?
What do they want?
What stands in their way?
Something I learned from these questions?
They help with your pitch and query. A lot.