Based on the feedback I received at the SCBWI-Carolinas conference, I am now revising and rewriting J.T.'s story. Such great advice, it makes me wonder "why didn't I think of that?" Of course, that's why Bruce Hale is a successful author and Stacy Cantor and Jennifer Rees are editors...they know what they're talking about/doing! Anyway, the beginning of the novel has been revamped (15th version!), and I've gone through the rest of the novel with a wide-toothed comb to make some changes. Once I've typed in all of those corrections, it'll be time to...use the fine-toothed comb and get the rest of my tangled word choices taken care of.
If you are aspiring to write, remember: authentic and believable voice, every word needs to be necessary, and build your suspense with every scene/chapter/page...great advice from some great people!