I knew the inciting incident was the heroine's meeting with the hero. It's a romantic suspense, and it's right up front where it should be. It took me ten days, working my way through my own advice to take a giant step back and say, "The story isn't about the murder." The murder is simply how I show the story. The story is about the heroine accepting she had perception issues and got messed up thinking love was some idealized emotion. And that all the time she'd thought she wasn't loved, she'd been loved very much.
- I'd forgotten the story was character-driven and set up the externals instead of the arc. It might be a romantic suspense, but it's a character-"driven" romantic suspense and the suspense is elements, not the whole shebang.
- I didn't ask myself what the story was really about.
- And more importantly, I didn't start troubleshooting until I'd rewritten the beginning twenty times.