I’m at that stage in the editing process where I have some big picture feedback. It’s very valuable, and I KNOW that considering and responding to these big picture suggestions will improve my novel. The trouble is that what I KNOW doesn’t always mitigate how I FEEL. I feel like Alexander the Great has just overrun my whole kingdom. Sorry, lady, he says. I’m in charge now.
I try to keep at the forefront of my mind that ‘what one reader sees, a certain percentage of all readers will see’. That means that it’s definitely worth the effort and time and heart-achings to move, shift, change – and in extreme cases – delete. (Ouch.) I’ve learned that it doesn’t help to interrogate the screen: ‘What do you mean, you don’t understand that sentence?’ The track-changes-comment doesn’t ever answer me.
I find that a workable way to approach this task is to first read through all of the changes, suggestions and comments, and then to put the whole thing away for at least 24 hours. Give feelings enough time to settle, and allow thinking to take over.
Then it’s time to deploy the kill-your-darlings strategy. Accept that these are true, heartfelt, well-meant suggestions. The editor is, after all, on my side. They want my book to be excellent book just as much as I do. And HOW I do!