Writing is weird. In many ways. Let me tell you about one of them.
Part of me feels like I'm not changing The Miller's Granddaughter nearly enough. I feel afraid that all the praise has gone to my head and spoiled my judgment. After all, writers seem to agree that first drafts are crap, that one needs to do at least seven or eight revisions before publishing, that few words will remain the same from first to finished draft, that it is imperative to polish and perfect as much as possible before seeking a publisher because publishing is so freaking hard and they see so many manuscripts, you've got to blow them away. So I look at my manuscript, at how neat and clean it still is compared to published author Kristin Cashore's, how minuscule some of my changes are, how much I'm leaving exactly as is for now, and I worry that I already like the story too much.
Another part of me feels like I'm changing The Miller's Granddaughter far too much. People liked it! They even loved it! I feel afraid that my judgment is suspect and I must trust these very intelligent readers. And yet here I go manhandling the poor story, cutting things, adding things, probably turning it quite boring. Why would I take something that worked, and try to fix it? Why am I messing with pacing? So I look at my manuscript, at the things I've crossed out, and the arrows, and the handwritten notes, and I worry that I'm making it worse.
I worry that my decisions, each tiny little one, are not perfect. They are, in fact, suspect. I must ask other people what they think. And then I see. Even if they are not perfect, taken as a group, they're probably good decisions. One or two or three or four of them might make the story worse, at least for some readers, but all of them together probably will make it better. And eventually, it will be a novel that I genuinely love. And that's best of all. Not that I don't care about everyone else. If that were the case, why bother trying to share it, to publish it? (Aside from money, and let's face it, my chances of making oodles of cash via my writing are only slightly better than winning the lottery. And I've never bought a lottery ticket in my life.) But even as far as others are concerned, it'll probably be more effective if I love it. a) Books written to formula tend to be boring, and one has to tap deep into oneself in order to come up with something truly fresh and unique. b) I'm not all that unique -- chances are, if I like it, there are other people out there very similar to myself who will also like it.