I've been reading CHARACTERS & VIEWPOINT by Orson Scott Card. The part that's really helped me figure out what's wrong with my first novel is on story type. There are four types of story, summarized by MICE: Milieu (setting), Idea, Character, and Event.
"Within the first few paragraphs or pages, you tell the reader implicitly what kind of story this is going to be; the reader then knows what to expect, and holds the thread of that structure throughout the tale."
My story is apparently a Character type story, but the opening doesn't reflect that. My first version opened with a dream, which would reflect an Event story. Currently, it opens with describing the setting, culture. That's more fitting of a Milieu structure. I'm starting in the wrong place for this type of story. I need to start where Marian realizes her world has changed and she no longer belongs where she’s been. Her moment of change, not anything that has to do with the Enchanter/Fey conflict.
Cutting most of the first three chapters would also help with the problem I got with my last rejection: the opening is too slow. It will also get Marian meeting Jex sooner. Win-win. When my husband offered to read through my story again, I had no idea if I even WANTED to look at it again, let alone have a clue how to revise it. I was so sick of my story, I was ready to not just shelve it but burn it and bury the ashes. But now that I have ideas to fix it, it’s interesting again. Will I ever be done with this story??