Since Monday, I've been waiting for the Secret Agents posts to go up, and then for comments to start appearing. Of course I've been in there too to add critiques of my own (everyone posted is expected to pay their way by critiquing other people's submissions).
Some positive comments there (whew!) and also some consistent criticisms. I've had a feeling for some time that my opening pages might be letting me down, without being able to pinpoint why.
This deep focus on just the first page is bringing some fascinating insight.
I've already made a first pass at revising, mostly rearranging the order of the paragraphs I've already got, because most of the comments revolved around changes of pace destroying the tension. I need the images to build on each other, not work against each other.
For the next pass, I need to sink deeper into the main character's point of view.
Odd, though. When I look back on the first round of critiques of my first draft (nearly two years ago now) I've now gone back almost to what I had in the first place but which I'd subsequently rearranged in response to similar criticisms back then.
I said "almost". That first draft was way off too, but my corrections back then just introduced new problems. What I've now got is (I think) closer in spirit to what I first envisaged but avoids (I hope) the problems I had then.
Two cycling commutes this week, and the deer are out & about already.