I'm making headway on the next novel which remains untitled until something pops into my head. I'm just finishing Chapter 4.
On Tuesday night, with great trepidation, I received feedback from my writers group, Rebel Writers of Buck County a.k.a The Rebs, about the first two chapters which I'd submitted the previous month. It's great to have people you trust critique your work and we have, among our members, a couple of great copy-editors and people who do not hold back when a plot point isn't working.
All in all my sample was well received, though a few felt I needed to get to the first conflict before page 8. I'm mulling this advice bearing in mind there is a difference between literary fiction and thrillers or criminal novels.
One thing that came up is the fact I wasn't born in America. Some of my prose is still Brit in that I use 'gas forecourt' instead of 'gas station' and expressions like 'playing up.'
Regards publishing in general, I've got a feeling there's going to be a big shake-up in the industry soon. They're simply not doing well in these difficult times. Many agents will fall by the wayside in the way real estate agents leave the industry when the housing market is in the doldrums --certainly those lit agents who haven't been selling manuscripts and those who really earn their living attending writers conferences and earning money from that will leave to find new work. The larger literary agencies will drop some of their employees.
I'm thinking the smaller, flexible independent publishers will be the winners after the winds of change have settled--publishers like the UK's Legend Press who published my first novel. They're managed by young Turks like Tom Chalmers who owe no allegiance to the stodgy old business models and aren't afraid to try new things. It'll be an interesting ride.