I whittled my entry into the young adult fiction competition down to 5,000 words. The novel is multi-cultural. To make sure someone unfamiliar with some of the customs in the first chapter understood them, I asked another author, who visited my house today, to read the first chapter while we drank tea. He really liked it, and the hook in the first paragraph intrigued him so much that he wanted to know how the plot would be resolved at the end of the novel. Phew! I felt a little more confident so I edited and revised 2,500 words.