Okay, now on to this post . . .
I received two more query rejections this week, which brings my overall tally to:
Queries Sent: 12
Still Pending: 3
Partials Requested: 1
Partials Rejected: 1
Fulls Requested: 0
Fulls Rejected: 0
Given that I'm what I like to call a Tweaker, I've been taking a look at both my query and first chapter. I'm not talking a complete overhaul, but looking for ways to brighten. I think my query is tight, but it might be a little too straight forward and missing a bit of the ever-talked-about VOICE.
The overwriting comes in on the first chapter. It's the only part of my story that I'm not 100% happy with.
For the most part I love my story, and I've read the thing from end to end more than a dozen times over (yeah, shocks me too). The story starts where it's supposed to, and it has all the information I need to move the plot forward . . . but there's something about Chapter 1 that doesn't feel quite right to me.
I'm starting to believe what's wrong with it is that it is OVERWRITTEN.
So much emphasis is placed on how important our first chapter -- page -- paragraph -- line -- is to capturing the reader/agent's attention that we sometimes have a tendency to overwrite the damn beginnings in an attempt to make them spectacularly interesting. The problem with this is that it comes off as sounding too much like someone begging to get your attention . . . and it can be about as charming as the guy at the party who doesn't seem to understand what "not interested" means.
Now, I don't think my first chapter is guilty of gross overwriting, but I'm starting to think that I was trying to be too coy or intriguing while writing (or re-writing it). So now I've identified the problem, but can I fix it?
Anyone have any tips, tricks or thoughts for how to write the ever-elusive first chapter that sings, without crossing into overwriting? Anyone find themselves in the same situation?