I think, however and whatever you write, it's only truly great if the readers tell you so. Often the opinions of your target market are so different from the prospective agent's or even your own, that confusion can muddy the waters at times. A steep learning curve for some, taken for granted by others. But if the fans are happy... The work does well... simple as. There may be rules that should be bent broken and dismissed according to work and audience, but the one most important and unbreakable rule (which isn't on that list) is that if the readers ain't happy... your doing it wrong... end of.
I had a lecturer (creative writing lecturer) comment that I shouldkeep my work less than 60,000 words. My readers said hell no! My shortest is 96,000 (which I will likely add to once book 5 is complete)
I have had agent feedback praising the storytelling but not liking the number of points of view I have, suggesting I cut it down from 3 to 1. My readers used choice language on that one! Needless to say book 2 had 5 pov's and book 3 a massive 12!
Gosh I could go on, but at the end of the day those who want to buy your book are the ones you are writing for. Not the ones who want a slice of the cake. They are welcome to the cake mind you if they help you get where you're going. But readers first.
Gosh I'm worn out. I don't even know if this post makes any sense lol! It does to me but that ain't saying much!!
I agree, Karen. A writer could spend their entire career writing and re-writing trying to appease every editor and critic, in the hopes of achieving representation. I believe there is an old story of a man, a boy and a donkey, the moral of which being, 'In trying to please others, you please no-one, especially yourself.'
Understandably, there must be at least a good percentage of flexibility, regarding changes to be made. How far would you go? How much do you change before your story is completely unrecognisable from the original?
I'm not the best one to ask likes lol in reality I change very little from my first draft. In fact that prologue you have of mines IS the 1st draft!