So, bolstered by my "good feelings" about these drastic revisions I've done (and really, I'm VERY pleased with them so far) I posted the first section of my first chapter on a writer's website for critique. Partly I did it because I knew they'd be hard to impress, and I'm trying to innoculate myself against the "rejection" bug. Y'know, in preparation for submitting to and being rejected by agents/publishers. The other reason I did it is, obviously, to see what difficulties an unfamiliar reader would have with the plot, terminology, imagery, etc.
So far, only one person has critiqued it, and they offered some really good comments on things that confused them as a first time reader. (they also offered some comments on things they really liked, which made me feel good) And I slept last night, pondering the things he recommended I change/edit/elaborate on. I became convinced that this person was completely right, and that I should take a hatchet to the chapter yet again.
Chie, bless her heart, reminded me to let more than one person critique the thing before I start making sweeping changes. One person's confusing point may not be another's. So now, I sit here, obsessively checking the website, waiting to see if anyone else has looked at it so that I can decide what revisions are necessary. My heart soars everytime I see the view counter go up, but sinks when no new posts are forthcoming. I'm an idiot.
I am, apparently, waiting for Vincini.