I wrote a YA contemporary novel. Er . . . who am I kidding, I wrote two. Under the watchful eyes of some amazing CP's these manuscripts were revised, characters eliminated, themes altered, and threads added. My CP's struggled through this with me as I kicked and fought back before making certain changes, whining like a two-year-old --"That's not what the story is about," and "but I don't want to write bubble gum and cotton candy."
For all my complaining, I made the changes and ended up with two well-written, cohesive manuscripts that bared no resemblance to their original versions. No matter how much they shined, regardless of how many words of praise I got on the tweaks, I had this horrible feeling that these manuscripts were no longer mine. In an effort to appease the masses, I'd revised my manuscripts to the point where I'd lost my voice. Trusting everybody but myself, I buried that suspicion and sent them off to my agent, knowing she'd make the right call.
Her call came last week in the form of revision notes. I laughed when I read them, literally sat down on the floor and laughed until I had tears streaming down my face. See, she'd never seen the original versions of the manuscripts; I only given her the edited copies. Each line I read of her notes had be backing out a piece of my revisions, untweaking characters, removing entire threads, and bringing the manuscript back to its original form . . . back to my voice.
I let the revision notes simmer for a few days then got started on them yesterday. It is not as simple as just tossing her the original manuscript. There are threads in the newer versions that I want to preserve, so it is really a matter of blending the two. But that aside, its amazing to finally realize that I really, really, REALLY need to trust my own writing instincts. It's even better to know that I have an agent that truly gets my voice -- unrevised and all!
Side-note: I would be remiss if I did not say that I have the best group of CP's a writer could ever ask for. Although they weren't the ones suggesting the changes, they had the grueling and selfless task of watching me make them, cheering me on when all I wanted to do was toss the manuscript and the revisions aside. A thousand thanks to you guys.