The rewrite is completed and off to market. I’m feeling a lot better, thankfully.
Rewrites are a strange business. You have to weigh the feedback you get from people against your instincts about what the story means for you as the creator. Sometimes you have to discount suggestions because while it might be an interesting direction for your story, it is not the story you wish to write. Other times it can really help you get a new perspective on what’s working or not working in the narrative.
Often, it’s not what your reader suggests that’s important, but it’s the exchange that prompts other ideas. One phrase from another person can tip over a domino in your mind that leads to a marvellous cascade of solutions.
On occasion feedback can leave you stranded in bat country. If that happens my feeling is that the core of the story needs to be clarified, so I try a back-to-basics approach and ask the fundamental question: “what is my story about?” I keep asking that question–as I dodge incoming bats–until I have a definitive answer. Then I unwrap my hands from my head, start the engine, and roar down the road to a better destination.
I have to tackle another next rewrite now that is parked in the middle of bat country. Time to flap my hands about, reach for the shotgun, and mumble “What’s it all about? What’s it all… geroff!”