This week starts the painful relook at my entire manuscript upon the suggestions of my editor and several professional Beta reads. It does always seem a bit overwhelming to relook at chapters that you have already gone over several times before and be forced to think about cutting or chopping them down now this late in the stage. But I have read that this happens a lot anyway to the best of writers if their manuscript has made it to a publisher. Usually, the publisher's editors will request rewrites or chops to parts to help the flow of the story.
Between the Beta Reads and Editor, I am being told to relook at my prologue. This one hurts me, mostly because out of all of my critique group reviews, and rewrites, this section, and my first chapter have been rewritten the most and honed and refined to what most said was perfect. My critique group though harsh on me at times, and after probably three go-throughs finally told me this section was ready to be published and was excellent. That was also said about my first chapter, a chapter that I created because after many beta reads and critique group reviews I was continually told my novel needed more wham factor in the very beginning to catch the reader's attention. So I wrote a whole new chapter that put my hero already in his working mode without revealing too much about him or his abilities quite yet. Just to entice the reader to want to know more.
Now I am told because I jumped ahead to show that part of him, the reader may be getting lost because of that jump as the very next chapter goes back six month's earlier to get you back on his origin story. So very tricky to keep both, intrigue and flow at the same time. I am also told I need more character development of my antagonist relationship with his daughter and his new lady to have the reader feel more attached to there well being. I can see this with his daughter, but not Katherine whom I have quite a bit of interaction with her and Joe and even have several chapters from her perspective. Which leads me into another critique complaint, that I need to go to a complete point of view from Joe's perspective only and quit going into other characters perspective. I feel I might resist this because I feel it is just my style of writing. I know the experts say in general a story should only be told from one person's perspective. But I have read dozens of stories that are told from multiple perspectives. I have made it a point that I am clear when I change to another's perspective with all my of POV changes only happening with a chapter change other than like two times that they happened in the actual chapter which I felt was important to the story.
I know as the author, it is VERY hard to give up a section that you spent a good amount of time researching and perfecting its flow only to be told it's not needed. I guess this is the way a filmmaker feels when he has to cut out a section that he/she is attached too, but finally, concedes it is not needed. That is what it comes down too with these final edits now. No matter how good the section or chapter may be, is it needed for the story, or does it interrupt the flow or confuse the readers. Hard to have a fair perspective when one is the author, and why I have sought professional opinions. Now I just have to make the hard choices going forward. For this work, I will need to be sequestered in a quiet room reading the whole book and making notes along the way. Need to print out the whole manuscript again, so I can read it like a normal book and make my notes on the page as I go. I find reading it off my computer screen doesn't give me the intimacy with the story as much as I need to make proper judgment calls.
These next few weeks will be quite hard both mentally and personally regarding my story. Part of the business though if you are going to do it right. Wish me luck.