I've rewritten the first chapter of Troubled_Waters. This is the only rewriting I'm planning to do at the moment. I've considered some heavy editing in a couple of early sections, but I haven't made my mind up yet. The concern there is that I've had comments from a couple of people that it starts out slow. I've guess I've got to decide what's relevant back story, what's texture, what's character development and what's not.
I've been insecure about the first chapter for a while. While the short story writer/poet prefers to make use of the "less is more" philosophy, I may have over-extended that approach in this case. As I understand it, the reader/agent needs to know what the book is going to be about by the end of the first chapter (1st page if possible). I'm not sure I completely agree, but a strong sense of direction doesn't hurt and I've just not been sure the chat-speak quite delivered that. The only other thing that's concerned me is starting the book out with a character we're never going to be seen again (cause the villain kills them on the second page). Somewhere along the way I heard this was a bad idea, that people tend to assume that the first character they meet is the MC and it disappoints them if you kill that character pretty much immediately and they won't read on.
However I've observed that writers sometimes open their books with a murder scene and I've admired the device. I've done a lot of this kind of reading in the last few years and can't always keep the who's who straight, but I believe I first saw it in a Patterson book. It creates instant tension and quickly establishes that BAD STUFF IS GOING TO HAPPEN to the people in this book. So I think that issue will stand.
Query letters to agents are written. I'll pick up a black ink cartridge today.