This happens after that.
At least, for me it did.
Even while querying, I knew my manuscript had a rather large flaw: the inciting incident happened after page 50. Somewhere around page 55, really. That was too late, and I knew it was too late. When I first started writing my book, I put the inciting incident as the very first scene, since I knew how important it was to get to it quickly. But, see, it's a fantasy, and early readers got lost. So I needed to spend some time world building, right? Sure I did. So I world-built for four chapters before the inciting incident.
And I knew that was wrong... but I could not for the life of me figure out how to fix it.
Until six months later.
Chapter two, I realized, didn't really need to be there at all. It was mostly an elaborate set-up so I could have my characters all sit around and discuss the world I'd built for them. It wasn't boring, per se, but it wasn't exactly exciting, for all that I tried to make it so.
Parts of chapter one, as well, weren't essential to the plot or to world-building, for all that I loved them and had edited the heck out of them for months on end.
So I started weeding.
First, I went through my manuscript and identified all the nonessential scenes, as well as scenes that had essential bits, but which didn't need to be there. Within my draft folder, I created a "Cut scenes" folder (never, never, nevernevernevernever permanently delete anything you've written--or what will you post in your "cut scenes" teasers for all your fans who can't get enough?). Within that cut scenes folder went documents with scenes that--um is it that they did or didn't make the cut? Either way, scenes that didn't need to be where they presently were got their own document in the cut scenes folder. It was actually quite cathartic. Go try it yourself. I'll wait.
Ready for the next step? So soon? Go cut some more. Trust me, you'll love it.
Next, ignoring the sad, holey state of the manuscript at large, I went through the cut scenes and highlighted parts that needed to be put back in. Backstory information. World building tidbits. Important moments that built character. Then I found them new homes. Mostly after the inciting incident.
Final step? Smooth it out. Make the grafts seamless. Read through it and make sure it all still makes sense in this brave new order.
The result? My inciting incident now happens around page 35. Twenty pages earlier.
Also, I permanently deleted 2,368 words. Many of them my darlings, but what can you do? Sadly, darlings are often born for the cut file.
Have you ever figured out how to cut 2,000 words from a "completed" manuscript?