The beginning of a novel

I got an agent rejection for Prodigies the other day (that’s been out for a while; I guess it got backlogged) with a difference: The agent explained what she found wrong with the book.

She loved the setting and the beginning descriptions, but she couldn’t get into the characters.

I looked at the novel and realized the reason she couldn’t get into the characters was that I never gave her a chance to.

The beginning of a book, according to Save the Cat methodology, should accomplish a few things: The character in her original setting before the action begins. A theme to the book. The debate where she goes on her path — but perhaps it’s the wrong path.

My book starts with the action — no chance of getting to understand Grace, no way to see Grace in her original setting, In other words, no way to identify with Grace. 

My beta reader didn’t tell me about this, which is worrisome. On the other hand, I am learning enough about the structure of novels that I can fix this (I’m fixing this right now) and hopefully I will be able to incorporate this into new novels. 

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