I've been doing revisions suggested by that agent, and it's been the hardest thinking I've done in my life. The agent suggested I take out as many characters as I could. Unfortunately, every character actually played a role in the story, so in removing them I had to reassign those roles to other characters, and then deal with the fact that Tory would handle something differently than, say, Hansel and Gretel, and Tom would do things different that Arvense, and Prudence than Grandma, and....you get the idea. Plus, I did want the novel to hit some key, not-needing-to-be-rewritten points. But it isn't enough just to take the narrative there--I had to get the characters to the same emotional state, and in a way that is believable and legitimate.
To complicate things, this is how writing usually happens in my house:
(It's not a great picture because it was taken on a kid camera by Anda).
That was followed by this:
Note that I am interacting with three children--a sleeping baby, a toddler who is trying to poke me in the eye with sunglasses, and a four year old who is saying "Smile Mom!" Not to mention it is probably 3:00 am and I look like it. In fact, ignore how awful I look in both pictures.
Looking at these pics, I wonder how I've managed to write a novel and re-write it at least 3 times, plus do detailed outlines on at least 3 more novels. It's even more of a wonder that anything I've written makes enough sense to get the attention of agents enough to get personalized rejections with helpful comments.
Hopefully we'll get beyond the rejections part soon.
If I can just get Kate to a character who has a different name in this draft, and then to Mother Goose, and figure out (once again) why she's traveling alone (since that doesn't make sense in the new draft).
But hey, I worked it out twice so far. I can do it again. It's just the hardest problem solving I have EVER had to do. Partially because my usual MO for solving these kinds of problems is to let them ferment, but I want to get this revision done before the agent loses interest, so I am pushing it through. No time to ferment.
We'll see what happens.