When my engineer hubby and I decided it was time to build a house, we spent a lot of time working on all the details. We chose everything from paint color to faucets. After a lot of hard work–we painted the whole interior ourselves–we had exactly the house we dreamed of owning. Except for one thing: the door to the master bathroom ended up in a weird place, and the shower was jammed in the corner behind it.
Looking back, we could see that the door was in an awkward place, but neither of us came up with the obvious solution, which was to move the door, early enough in the process. By the time we realized the situation, it was too much work (and cost) to move it.
When I get suggestions from my story editor, who is awesome by the way, I get that “move the door” feeling again. I always agree with her suggestions, and I wonder why I didn’t see the awkwardness sooner. I have a feeling it’s because I’m too close to the text by this time in the process, and I can’t see the big picture because I’m too focused on the minute details. So stepping back and seeing the issues that need to be addressed is always difficult.
I don’t get emotional or get hurt by her pointing out the flaws in the book. That’s what I want her to do. Better now than after it’s published! But I do look at the text and think, “Wow! I have a lot of work ahead of me. Why couldn’t I just see this problem sooner? I could have saved a lot of labor if I just did it right the first time.”
But the plain fact is that I can move the door. I CAN fill in the gaps and repair the issues in the text. But it is a lot of work. And boy, do I wish my first drafts would be perfect! (pipe dream)