There's something there, the literary agent wrote in the rejection letter. Here's some suggestions. Feel free to resubmit if you agree and re-work the manuscript.
When a literary agent takes the time to get somewhat specific, I'd be a fool not to follow her advice. The problem I've run into is that I can't quite figure out how to get where I need to go with the novel.
Easy enough to insert a scene or two and make the main character more appealing to the reader. I've begun to rough out a couple of paragraphs that I can insert into the opening chapter and solve that little problem.
The real difficulty lies within the sub-plots that I thought were driving the narrative along to its conclusion. The agent read the manuscript and felt that the sub-plots were unconnected incidents which need to be linked together.
Those things that the main character encounters, the forces that help her grow during the course of the story, were done with showing and not telling. Or so I hoped. My problem could be that my showing is too subtle. Action A leading to Action B might not be seen to lead to Action C.
Weaving the many strands together may require more telling. Maybe. Or my showing needs work in some direction that I still can't determine.
On top of all that confusion is the nasty little voice in my head that's telling me this is my one and only chance to land a literary agent and get something published. Do this right, read her mind as to what she's looking for, and it's an offer of representation. Get it wrong, and it's a rejection.
I have a feeling that the best way to sort through the whole thing is to print out the manuscript and spread it out on the desk, to lay out the chapters and go through them one by one. That way, I can make notes about the plot lines and see where reminders are placed, to refresh the reader's memory about an incident in an early chapter that is important in the last third of the novel.
The manuscript is short enough that there's room to play with, and I can add. The question is, what exactly should I add, and could there be other things to remove?
I'm off to buy a ream of paper.