So I have completed Your Novel Year at ASU, care of the Virginia C. Piper Writing Center.
The final edit was really a great experience. I've been told before that it's really enlightening to have someone disconnected from the story to read it and to be honest, it was eye opening.
I won't dance around it. The editor spotted some problems that I had been in denial about. Namely, a few of the main characters had a tendency to repeat certain plot points over and over. That was probably the biggest issue. The editor also made some suggestions about character reveals, not clueing in the lead about a significant fact until it's there in front of him. I liked it. She also suggested adding some scenes early on, coupled with slashing and burning some of the later sections.
There were a few little things that I didn't agree with but they were small things. I don't think my hero is "on the spectrum" – I think he's one of those incredibly intelligent people who often misses that not everyone is as clever as he is. That he is also somewhat asexual shouldn't make people assume he's autistic. However, while I don't agree, I did see her point.
What pleased me was that I was battened down for some serious, hard core criticism and instead, it was pretty affirming. I wasn't expecting a line by line litany of "this sucks", but I was a little worried. I know, after looking at the criticisms and acting on them, I have made the book better. Yes, I think that walking into the process with an open mind helped, but a) I think the editor was a good match for my personality and b) it was surprising how stepping back and letting someone play with my toy motivated me to really look at the toy in a new way.
The editor liked and appreciated that none of my heroes morphed into instant super soldiers.
When I asked her open about self publishing on Amazon versus looking for an agent, she very much said to start agent shopping. Coupled with the very positive feedback, it's heartening to know someone knowledgeable in the business is encouraging.
So now to look for an agent! Anyone know how to write a query letter?