After working on a novel for several years, I declared it finished and began sending query letters to agents. Before starting a new project, I decided to take a class at the Writers Studio and was lucky in happening to sign up for Michele Herman’s section of Level I. I took two terms with her, grateful for her kind, subtle and yet rigorous ability to zero in on what worked (or didn’t). From this, I realized my novel wasn’t  done after all — what I had learned made me see  ways it could be improved. So I stopped taking classes, stopped querying agents and started revising again. Although it became better, I eventually realized I needed more guidance, someone who could step back and offer the perspective I had lost on the piece as a whole. I was nervous about hiring a developmental editor I didn’t know — but then I realized Michele also did this work, and that she was the logical person to ask. Without stepping on my vision for the work, she offered a number of practical suggestions for improvement that helped make the difference. Soon after another round of revisions based on her advice, I was able to find an agent and sell the novel. Thank you, Michele!