Conduit is kind enough to read my book for me. Even better, he's being blatantly honest. "Too slow after an action start." (Not how he put it, but what he means, I believe.) That's valuable info, right there. I'm a bit torn because originally I had a lot of action action action with world-building and backstory woven in bit by bit, but previous readers said that then the info comes too slow. It's like I'm keeping secrets, they said.
So now I explain things and it's boring.
I can't win.
Why oh why would anyone ask me for this damn book? It's my first book. It's supposed to rot under my bed for an eternity. Albeit, I've nearly rewritten the damn thing in the last four months.
But, the good thing about his advice so far is that the book has always been too long. So I'm cutting at a rate of about 10%--I'd like to reach 20%. (That would be 23K words overall. I cut 1800 tonight.) Slash and burn, baby, slash and burn! If I do some cuts I proposed to myself tonight, it'd be another 5K. Most of the cutting needs to be from the first third of the book, so I can hunt around for more. I'm highlighting bits from scenes that must be included: things that are referred to later, clues to the "mystery", and characterization scenes that I just really can't let go of. I tend to trust myself on this because I know I can be brutal when it comes to scything through exposition.
My other concern is that the protags are twenty. I really don't want, nor believe this book is, a YA. The other books in the series definitely are not. One of the protags turns into a sniper/assassin for the bad guys, for crissake. I've actually, truth be told, always hoped it would be a sort of bridge series--available for kids who are late teens (who generally read adult novels--hell, I started reading some adult novels when I was 12, but I would have appreciated younger protags) while also appealing to the adult urban fantasy market. I'd guess some of the protags in this market might be mid-twenties. Perhaps I could make them twenty-one? But fantasy often has accepted a much younger protag, teenaged or even younger.
Any opinions on this stuff?