Originally Answered: Need advice on my novel?
Don't do flashbacks, don't talk too much about their past, don't talk about the death of their parents, don't repeat anything...
I really don't see why you want a long first chapter... First chapters are there to OPEN/START the book, not tell the whole story.
The reason why i told you not to add all of the crap listed above is because that would be INFORMATION and dumping such important information, obviously of no small proportions, would practically ruin your first chapter and bore the reader.
Nobody actually cares about the characters in the FIRST chapter... Give the audience some time to get to know them, to bond with them and THEN hit them with the sad past... If you want the reader to get emotional over the book thats the way around it.
Save the death of their parents for a nightmare or terrible flashback later on, like third, fourth chapter or keep it a secret until later on... Thought if you are impatient to unravel their death talk about it in the second chapter and make sure it is happens as action, not as information... That's where the flashback/nightmare come in.
Information dumps are practically your worst enemy, especially in the first few chapters. When I'm buying a book I read half of the first chapter and if it's one of those: It was the first of may, 1995. My family was dead, the whole world was dead, I was the only one left etc etc I run screaming from it... It is both annoying, as interest-less as white paint and as unnecessary as a headache.
You'd do well to remember and start all of your works with action, as you have now. Information should unravel SLOWLY, in SMALL pieces, through dialog/thoughts/reactions/actions and the likes. (AKA nightmares, diary entries, opening up to somebody though you should be careful with this one and last but not least the personage's character altered AFTER the event taking place.)
Another thing. Short first chapters doesn't mean a thing... Well, probably it DOES say that the writer is rather eager to get it on with the depths, which isn't bad... I've read first chapters as long as five sentences, two paragraphs and fifty pages... Heck, I prefer books without chapters. Just keep writing and don't let that bother you.
Take care, good luck.