Well, I had my long-awaited critique with Dianne Hess, the Executive Editor of Scholastic Press, today. She is a gracious, personable woman who gave me an honest appraisal of what’s good and what needs work in the first 10 pages of my manuscript. She liked the basic premise of the book but had a lot of questions about the believability of different aspects of the particulars. She noted that the first 10 pages were dense, too packed with information and characters to truly let her see what the story was about. I understand that I have failings in the technical aspects of writing - after all, this is my first novel. She didn’t say, “Once you’ve fixed that up, send me the full manuscript,” as I had dreamed.
So I’m disappointed but not disheartened. I will indeed work on the pace in those first pages, and try to disentangle the various story threads. And I’ll hope that the queries and sample pages I sent to other publishers bring a different result.