Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Page 51 is a doozy

Because I'm querying I need something to obsess over. So here it is.

The always awesome Anette had one particular comment after she read through my novel, and it's been spurring me on ever since: The book starts a bit slow. Not that there isn't action (um, discovery of a dead body, etc.) but it truly picks up after about the first 50 pages or so.

The problem: the requests for partials I've received so far ask for the first 50 pages.


Anette was right and I've been revising the beginning ever since, taking stuff out and tightening where I can. But I still feel like shouting to agents: "Just ask for the full! I promise you'll love it if only you'll get past the first 50 pages!"

My MC, Lottie meets people in those first 50 pages who are instrumental throughout the book. But lots of meetings can bog down the action.

Once you get past the setup, there are parties and midnight break-ins and romance and underground passageways and hit-and-runs and suspense and it's really exciting! You just, um, have to get there.

Part of the problem might be that since I wrote the first draft off and on for three years, the latter half (written more recently) is better simply because I wrote it more recently and I'm a better writer now than I was three years ago.

Duh, you're saying. Just rewrite the beginning. And I have, to a point. I mean that I've edited the crap out of it. There's still just the nagging feeling that it's still slow. And I'm so close to it that it's hard sometimes to see what can go and what needs to stay.

I just got a request for a partial yesterday from dream agent. I want her to love it! I want her to request a full! But I'm trying to keep the freak-outs to a minimum here. So I'll just check my e-mail again real quick and...

I need to reread Colleen's post at the Swivet today about the art of patience.


Jill Wheeler said...

Good luck!!!!!

Davin Malasarn said...

I know how you feel and it is frustrating. Several months ago, I was feeling like people had to get to page 30 of my book before the story got exciting. Now, I feel like people have to get to page 10. I've tightened it and tightened it, but there is still some set up required in the beginning.

Two thoughts:

1. You don't have to have exciting action happening to pull people in. Revising the prose and making it perfect will also impress readers and make them trust you enough to read more.

2. And, I say this only because someone said this to me yesterday. If YOU truly think the beginning is slow, then you owe it to yourself to fix it. You want the best book you can write for yourself.

Anette J Kres said...

Awww... you're awesome too!

Since you've revised the first part so much, I'd love to look over it again to see what you've done with it :) Just shoot me an email.

Oh, I took a leaf out of your book and sent my query letter to EE. It's now second in line, eek!

Best of luck with that dream agent. I know it's gotta be frustrating with them only asking for a partial, but they arn't the only people who have to get through the first 50 pages. All your adoring fans, I mean readers, :) will have to get through it too. It'll get there, I know it!


Fran said...

I Think you need to move some of the first 50 pages.

Pull some of that excitement into your beginning, and then perhaps bring in the original stuff later on.

Don't be afraid to dump inconsequential bits. If it's not moving you anywhere, it's superfluous to the story.

I think because its ALWAYS BEEN THERE, you can't imagine not having it in the same place.

Good luck. I know what it feels like.