I received a very kind rejection yesterday to my witch trilogy. But by golly I can't argue with anything she said. She was also kind enough to offer some helpful criticism, which I have not received in the past. I'm so used to the standard, "Thank you for your submission. You ain't got what we want right now. Quit calling yourself an author. Sincerely, Very Rude Form Letter" In fact it almost caught me off guard to actually have some constructive criticism on how to make the book more readable.
The biggest comment was giving my character more of a voice that people can relate to. I think that the second and third books are much more like that as I learned more about my characters. So far I've eliminated nearly 12,000 words from the book by ditching the prologue and finding ways of incorporating that information into the body of the story. I may write a prologue after the fact later if I feel something is missing, but I'm not going to start with a prologue. I have also combined the first two chapters into one and made what was two days into one to get to the real action of the story quicker.
I've been reading through some of my more favorite YA books over the past two days and realizing how much action does take place in the first 50 pages. Hell, Bella moves to Forks, gets a truck, starts school, goes to classes, is introduced to the Cullens, has her first encounter with Edward, he leaves and then comes back all in the first fifty pages. Whew! I compared that (and other books) to my first 50 pages wherein you meet the twins and their family and they start school and you are introduced to the surly boy with a chip on his shoulder. But really nothing happens until the next fifty pages.
I'm not feeling defeated like I have been in the past. I know it is a good story, I just need to tell it better.