Publisher Feedback and What I've Learned-
After taking a long, hard look at "The Elegance Of Nature-Prophecies of the New World"--they were right. (Of course they're right, they editors, and they do this all the time. I'm a Registered Nurse-Writer Wannabe at this point) The prologue was not necessary to tell the story, but it sounded so good...So at this point, I'll quote Joss Whedon--
"CUT WHAT YOU LOVE
Here's one trick that I learned early on. If something isn't working, if you have a story that you've built and it's block and you can't figure it out, take your favorite scene, or your very best idea or set-piece, and cut it. It's brutal, but sometimes inevitable. That thing may find its way back in, but cutting it is usually an enormously freeing exercise"--Joss Whedon.
--Avoid Info dumps, ensure your prose matches normal character thought patterns.
I find it sad that it took a glaring neon sign with blinking arrows from an editor for me to see just how much info-dumping I was doing in the early chapters. It's hard to see the glaring mistakes when you're so close to the work. Lesson learned. I found this link to be helpful in identifying info dumps, as well as avoiding them.
--Dialogue!!!!! Dialogue!!! Dialogue!!! Your readers need to get to know your characters, and they do this though dialogue.
---Enuff said--or rather.. not enough said. Take the info dumps and use them within the expanded dialogue, but work it into realistic conversation.
--Avoid Telling. We recommend cutting all instance of words like Felt, saw, heard, looked, appeared, seemed, etc.
--Same concept as the Info dump really, but I find myself defaulting to this in my first drafts. Maybe the story needs to be told first. Once I get the story told, I can take it back to the drawing board and show it.
Pacing is a little harder, I'm still struggling with getting the pacing right, so here's a reference that I've been using to help with that.