I received an email yesterday; I got rejected. It took the agent less than 24 hours to respond and I appreciate that. I'm also very proud that I didn't cry. Of course it was hard and I had to take a few deep breaths, but I was so busy yesterday that I didn't have time to wallow in it. The very first rejection is probably the hardest (that, or the very first rude rejection). The letter was very polite, thanking me for the query, saying that unfortunately the manuscript didn't sound like something that's right for them, and wishing me the best of success on placing my work elsewhere.
--> Be strong and proud of yourself when you receive your very first rejection.
So I did some thinking. I read Jody Hedlund's advice on first chapter mistakes, and it confirmed my suspicion that my chapter starts off too slowly, with way too much backstory. She also advices to make the manuscript the very best it can be before querying. As I've reflected before, I think that mine could do with some work on the first chapters. So I've decided that before querying more agents, I'm going to delete the first three chapters and see if I can make the story go a lot faster. I'm also going to delete one of the minor plots that doesn't weight much anymore since I deleted the fifth chapter some weeks ago and rewrote it. This will both shorten the word count and make it more fast-paced.
--> Make the story the very best it can be before querying.
I started brainstorming yesterday, and continued when I woke up this morning. I now know how I'm going to start the chapter, and the rest should come easily after that (since I know my characters so well). I'm going to do what Jody suggests: throw the characters into the whirlpool and see what happens. I don't think I'll change the later chapters, only adjust them a little.
But today I'm going to take a breather. I'm going to finish reading the book I've been putting on hold, then I'm going to the library, and play with my kids over the weekend. I'll start writing on Monday, bright and early, so that I'll have the whole week to concentrate.
Task for the day: Relax.
Have a nice day!