I'm relatively new here, and I've been reading through loads of the forum posts on here, and am thrilled to have found such a supportive and knowledgeable community of like-minded souls.
I've finished the first draft of my novel, and have been tinkering with it for a good few weeks now. I can't leave it alone. I've sent it out to several test readers, and they've given me some really useful feedback. However... they are all people I know, and whilst I trust them to be objective, they're still obviously friends/family and may be pulling some punches.
I'm getting my submission ready, and I'm incredibly nervous that my first three chapters aren't strong enough. The way the story is written, there has to be a set-up first, before the 'big discovery' is made, and that's what I'm nervous about - that it doesn't come soon enough.
My novel is for adult audiences, a dark-comic urban fantasy, and it's approximately 90,500 words long. The first few chapters were originally between 1,500-3,000 words long, but the 'discovery' then didn't arrive until Chapter 5, which is way too late. So I merged some chapters together, but now worry that they're too long. Chapter 1 is 5,485 words, Chapter 2 is 5,579 and Chapter 3 is 4,274. The latter I'm fine with, but I worry that 15,000 words is too long, especially as some agents ask for first 3 chapters, or 10,000 word, whichever comes first.
Does anyone have any words of advice/wisdom etc about chapter length, long set up times, etc?