Sometimes you have to change all of it.
Updated: Sep 29, 2019
One of my projects is on it's second revision - I've lost track of how many edits. Perhaps its third revision, since I've cut over 10,000 words. And it's funny thinking how far the story has come.
In its first iteration, there was only one viewpoint. One third-person point-of-view (POV) trekking through the plot, slowly emerging from her cuccoon of a sheltered life. I was very proud of it. It was unlike anything I'd ever written.
Then, on a whim, I added a second POV at the very end. The final chapter. This version got read by an agent.
This agent rejected the manuscript, but had an interesting piece of advice: what if I took that second POV and wove it through the entire story?
For the sequel, I'd planned to do just that. But now I was intrigued. What if I did that? What if I took plot I'd reserved for the sequel and pushed it into the first manuscript? What if I added secrets I'd been holding on to and saw where it took me?
So I did.
A lot changed. One secret in particular changed an entire plotline. A character went from being framed for a fire to being framed for attacking a man of status. The whole scope widened, and a new world - and perspective - was brought in.
Moreover, the new POV was a delight. I ran with this idea and had so much fun contrasting the two main characters. Both are smart, but one was sheltered and the other was not. That alone drew a lot of juxtapositions that weren't clear before.
A third character, who had a larger role in the first version, took a backseat. A character I liked. But I was so happy with the changes that I didn't mind.
I even changed the title to fit the new story.
I'm working on that story now. With every manuscript, I think, "THIS is the one. THIS is the one that I'll land an agent with." It hasn't worked out yet, but not for lack of persistence.
I've had agents agree to reread the latest version after rejecting the last one. The new perspective was that interesting.
There's no reason to stop.
There's all the reason in the world to make it better.