I wrote a post a few years ago about making decisions based on the 80% rule. Last year, I decided to apply it to my novel. Once I had the story as complete as I could make it, I sent it out to a few people. Their comments showed me how confusing the manuscript was and I plunged into revisions to answer all their questions.
My next step, once I decided I had finished revising, was to seek critiques from other writers. That opened a whole new world of questions and edits to address the age-old adage of show not tell. During this next round of revisions I also focused on writing technique. There was so much I did not know about point of view and story structure.
Then once again I decided the novel was finished and I set out to query agents. The replies I received sent me back to the revising board. I changed the opening, moved the inciting incident forward and humanized the dialogue. Enticing was the goal. Fellows writers chimed in and helped me tightened the first pages. And once again I sent the full manuscript out for critique. The comments I received asked for details to be added in a few places where transitions were too brusk,so I revised problematic chapters to help with the flow.
But in the end the story is what it is. Some people like it, some do not. I accept that. My favorite criticism this last round was "the problem with this book is that characters get too excited about libraries." The major concern in the world I created is the loss of knowledge. That Library is the first one in four hundred years. My characters think that Library is important and I agree with them. But I can understand others might not.
My quest right now is to find like-minded people, because, as far as I can tell, this novel is complete to the best of my ability.