Brian Keaney of the Writer's Workshop. He told me, in his report, that he thought I would find his assessment 'challenging' and I did. However, it's a good challenge.
I now have information on what will make my story fit better in the publishing world. I always had a certain blindness to this reality. It's one thing to read a book, a shelf of books, in your genre, but it isn't always easy to apply that to your own writing. I now have a better idea of what will make my novel work.
I'm making a number of amendments. For instance, the book is now solely from the point of view of Steve (albeit still from a third person perspective) which has meant removing some chapters. I'll have to find a way to convey the information from these chapters in other ways.
I always wondered whether having access to Steve's internal dialogue, his thoughts, would work in a children's novel. Now, I know that it will. That's another amendment to make.
Similarly, I was unsure how much description to use. I wondered if a child/teenager would get bored and prefer action. I now know how to deal with that too.
I suddenly feel that I have a focus that was lacking before. I can see where to take my novel and I'm excited about that. My new chapter plan is almost complete. I just need one more obstacle for my characters to deal with.
If any of you are looking to have your manuscript professionally assessed, I can thoroughly recommend the Writers Workshop. Their communication by email has been swift, polite and helpful, and my assessment was well worth the money.
I envision the re-write of my novel will take me into the summer and then it's all guns blazing to find an agent.