I am a fan of the gut feeling. I love that somehow, my gut knows whether something is right or not. Does my gut have the instincts of a snarky editor? Perhaps. What I do know is that there are parts of my first book that I've always known in my gut didn't work.
I've just completed my 6th complete rewrite. Why have I done this? Well, because my head couldn't figure out what had my gut so unhappy. I've known there was something wrong since the beginning. I've had many, many readers go through and point out things that need to be fixed and every time it has gotten better... but my gut still wasn't happy. I added characters, cut characters, added scenes, cut scenes--all to no avail. Still I got only unsatisfied grumblings in response.
I am here to say, that finally, with this sixth rewrite. My gut has been satiated, and I can comfortably say that I've never been happier with the results of a rewrite. It transformed this book and I love it. Here are a few things I've realized.
1 - Although my readers have had many fabulous suggestions, and improved the book in ways I'd never considered--I was the one who finally solved the problem in the last rewrite. I knew the answer, I just had to be ready to do it.
2 - I don't resent having to do so many rewrites to get it right and this is why. I don't consider that I have fixed one problem at a time from one book. I consider that I've fixed one problem at a time from all of my books. I won't make the same mistakes again, and if I do, I will recognize them before I make it all the way through. I'm not saying I'll never have to rewrite books in the future, I'm saying that with each one I will grow and learn different things, but I'm grateful for the things I've learned with this book.
So, to all of you out there doing miserable rewrite after miserable rewrite--listen to your gut. It knows more than it lets on and it's almost always right.
My gut and I will rest well tonight. :D