As I write this, I've felt done, really done with my novel, for almost two months. I'm a big fan of rolling edits, and by the time I'd finished the last chapter, I'd gone over the first 5 chapters at least 9 times. I felt really good about them. I felt really good about the book overall.
I tweaked my query letter and then tweaked it again. I read all of Query Shark and cut my sentences down to size. I felt like a lean, mean querying machine.
And then I read my first chapter again. Through all that honing and tweaking of my query letter I realized something. My book started in the wrong place. (DUM DUM DUM...) I had written myself into the book, and had used the first 2,500 words to get to know my MC, who really shows her stripes later in the book. As a reader, I didn't need those words. They got in the way. Things didn't start to happen, start to get interesting, until I'd figured out my MC.
I moaned and groaned and tried to justify where I had started in the first place, but the more I tried to justify it, the more that I realized my gut was right. Of the 3000 words I cut from the beginning, I ended up keep 300, which I needed to explain a few things later in the book. 300. Out of almost 3000.
The book is better now. A lot better. I'm going to try and learn my lesson. I'm going to sit on this for a few more weeks and then read it again.
In the meantime, I'll be researching ocean liners, working on Book the 2nd (17,000 words in as of today! Yippee!), and checking out a Chicago style pizza place that's purportedly opened just around the corner from me in Songdo. (Cheese! Hooray!)
Just 3 months and a week left in Korea. I'm counting the days until I get to see my sweet dog again.