After receiving imput from the editor I realized I was not ready to self-publish. Not only was my work not ready, I was not ready to give up my dreams of being traditionally published.
Shortly after receiving the editor’s notes I received a response from an agent about my manuscript. Though she did like my story, she too did not think it was ready. She sent me a two-page response listing weak areas she felt needed to be addressed. After another round of revising she asked for me to resubmit to her.
I realized from her notes that I needed to let the reader know who Lan was before I threw her into turmoil. In the pervious version, I had set the first chapter on the day she fled from the palace. After this revision, the first chapter takes place days before. The reader is given a chance to understand the world in which Lan lives so when she does leave, what she is risking is clear. The reader knows the stakes are high if she fails.
Faster! Lan willed her feet to pick up their pace. Sweat seeped down between her shoulder blades, dampening the tan beggar’s clothes she wore. Her long black braid snapped in the air behind her.
Lan glanced up at the sliver of setting sun then at the ominous stone wall of the Imperial Palace. Soon the gate would come into view, if only it still sat open. Lan had never been this late before. Foolishly, she had watched the dragon riders into the early evening, her eyes mesmerized by the dragon’s powerful wings, their long graceful necks, and their fire.