Writing the query letter was not so challenging after all. And with the synopsis already written, knocking out two sentences on the plot of my novel was actually a breeze.

So, there’s that.

I opened my travel-battered copy of The Novel Submission Road Map (coming soon for $19.99) to see where I was heading next. That was four days ago.

The next step was straightforward enough: Look at your first three chapters.

Well, that’s easy. It hadn’t even been two weeks since I finished editing my third draft, and those first few chapters were obviously part of it. They must be in great shape. This was going to be a breeze!

Regardless, in preparation for this leg of the journey, I figured it couldn’t hurt to read a few articles on opening chapters. Short, punchy, to the point–that’s what sells. That’s what draws the reader in. That’s what agents want to see.

Short. Hmm.

My first chapter was no problem, clocking in at just over 2,500 words. But that second chapter, at a few keystrokes under 11,000 words, was definitely a point of contention.

Quickly, and quite simply, that gargantuan second chapter became three chapters. The book reads better by just that alone. Unfortunately, the end of Chapter 2 became the end of Chapter 4, so it won’t make the cut to send to agents, and I really wanted it in there. But some agents ask for the first 50 pages, so maybe I’ll include with those queries should they arise.

After slicing up Chapter 2, I took my red pen to page one. Then page two. Then three. And so on.

It took much longer than I’d anticipated, and four days later I had a stack of paper with a lot of red ink on it.

Today was spent typing up the edits, and I finally arrived at my destination. All I need to do is compile it all together, and I’m good to go.

Tomorrow, it’s back to researching agents.

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